Tomato scarcity is a thing. Jollof rice, stew, soups, sauce, salads, purée, a sandwich and some garnish are all made with an essential ingredient; tomatoes. Tomatoes are at the core of making numerous meals in Nigeria. With the average Nigerian eating two meals a day, it is likely one will include tomatoes.
Shopping in today’s market, tomato prices have soared to 300%. A paint bucket has gone from ₦2,500 to ₦4,500, to ₦6,500, and most recently ₦15,000. Believe it or not, a basket of tomatoes is said to now be ₦120,000. Some tomato retailers have gone out of business due to little or no sales. I mean 7 pieces go for ₦1,000. Speechless.
Imagine the cost of catering at events in todays economy as a result of the tomato scarcity. The cost of Owambe is going up by the day. Next time you go for an event, enjoy yourself but make sure to scrape your plate.
Why has the price of tomatoes gone up drastically?
If your first guess is the price of fuel, guess again. And no it’s not because it’s out of season. Sadly, the tomato farms up North have been ravaged by Tuta absoluta, popularly known as ‘Tomato Ebola’. The farm lands have recorded about 80% loss which has resulted in scarcity. This is estimated to be a loss of up to ₦1.3 billion, according to the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT).
In addition, Farmers cannot afford the price of pesticides needed to curb the “pandemic”. As usual, the federal government haven’t done much to help.
We made it through the onion crisis, brace yourself for what life will be with limited or no tomatoes. The real question is, will you survive without white rice and stew?
Hopefully this ends sooner than later.