The sinho tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a cherry tomato which grows in the south and the north of Guinea Bissau in the Biombo Region. It is a very productive and resistant variety which adapts itself to centuries old climactic conditions of the country.
In the Biombo, the Pepel cultivate this local variety in great quantities. It is a custom to construct an enclosure around ones house with the jatropha bush which often serves as a support for the growth of the tomato plants.
In the south of Guinea Bissau the Balanta make ample use of this variety. Usually the sinho tomato is sown during the rainy season mixed with rice seeds which are then spread in the paddies. The rice matures first and is harvested about sixty days after planting, while the sinho tomato has a growing cycle of two to three months and begins its maturation immediately after the rice harvest.
In the South, the ripe tomatoes are processed into sauce, pressing them by hand and separating the seeds and skin from the pulp. What remains after separation is boiled with the addition of salt and reduced into a concentrate which is then preserved in jars. In some homes a thin layer of olive oil is spread over the concentrate prior to closing the jars. The sauce is usually produced from October onwards.
The traditional sinho tomato has a superior yield and is more suited to the environment that a variety that was subsequently introduced. The sinho tomato in fact has no need for the use of chemical products. It is sufficient to keep the plants free by weeding out invasive grasses.
The seeds are preserved on the walls or a placed on straw in the kitchen. The smoke and the heat allow the seeds to be protected from various insects.
Others mix the seeds with ashes which serves the same function of protecting the plants from insects.