Tomato – The God Food for Nutrition and Human Health

A recent study conducted at Ohio State University in the United States found that dietary carotenoids, which give tomatoes their color, will protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. With the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer increasing every year, it’s good news that eating tomatoes daily can reduce the risk of skin cancer.

This small, round, sweet, juicy and delicious red fruit is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the world, not only because of its culinary purpose, but also because of its many health and nutritional benefits. Tomato for skin cancer was just the latest example of its endless fitness benefits.

Since time immemorial, there has been a long love affair between man and the tomato due to its ability to better acclimatize to various environments. Today, it comes in a huge range of varieties that differ in color, size, shape, and taste. Today, tomato has become one of the most sought after vegetables in the world due to its unique taste and nutritional qualities. More than 100 new tomato varieties are released to the world market each year.

The health benefits of tomatoes have earned them the title of “divine food” and are an integral part of cuisines around the world. Tomato is also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Organic compounds like lycopene also attribute health benefits. Tomato breeding criteria vary by country and crop. Asian tomato markets are particularly fond of lighter colors, while in European markets, small tomato shapes are preferred.

So how does “God food” dominate the seed market? A report by Market Intelligence, a market research firm, states, “Tomato seed market revenue covers a whopping $829.8 million of the vegetable seed market revenue of $7.8 billion.” The numerical figure clearly illustrates the dominance of the seed market by tomatoes.

The tomato is the most cultivated and consumed vegetable in the world. China is the largest tomato producer, followed by India, the United States, Turkey and Egypt. The agri-food market occupies 30% of the tomato destination market, while 70% of it is consumed fresh.

Nowadays, the main objective of the main seed companies around the world is to improve yield, adaptability to various climatic conditions and to develop varieties tolerant to diseases and pests. Great importance has been given to the development of disease-resistant tomatoes, since the tomato is attacked by more than 200 diseases and pests. Some of the important diseases of tomatoes are bacterial wilt, tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), groundnut bud necrosis virus (GBNV), etc. The companies’ breeders are also working on developing flavors for the final taste of the tomatoes. The growth of tomato seeds is largely attributed to the use of hybrid seeds and the use of high-value experimental varieties in developed economies. Although the investment in this industry is high, the return on investment greatly encourages farmers around the world to adopt hybrid tomato seeds for its production.

The adoption of improved varieties and hybrids will surely boost the global tomato seed market. Companies like Monsanto, Groupe Limagrain, Syngenta work with their best teams, aligned with international standards and practices. This not only helps them achieve their business goals, but also helps create value for society, as evidenced by their considerable efforts in the field of tomato seed production research. Their ambitious vision can have serious benefits for the sustainable production of the nutritious and healthy vegetable – “God’s Food”, the tomato.

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