Oops Tomatoes Cost $2 Each
Tomatoes suddenly became very expensive as supply dwindles due to attacks by pests that destroyed large-scale tomato crops in Nigeria’s Kaduna State. The tomato crisis triggered panic among Nigerian citizens whose staple food includes tomato.
Tomato prices skyrocketed to an all time high as supplies faltered. Tomatoes have now become so expensive that they are sold for $2 each at local markets. Wholesale baskets cost as much as N42,000 or $212.
So what is the culprit?
According to Manzo Daniel, the Kaduna State Agriculture Commissioner, the tomato crisis started when a notorious moth called Tuta absoluta destroyed crops in northern Kaduna State. The moth destroyed 80% of farms in Nigeria’s largest tomato-producing state. This prompted local authorities to declare a state of emergency.
In addition, the moth is not only attacking tomato crops. The pest also attacks crops such as pepper and potatoes. The pest originated in South America in the early 1900s. Then later spread to Europe before crossing over to sub-Saharan Africa.
The presence of the pest has alarmed Nigerian authorities.
Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture, has warned that the pest may “create serious problems for food security” in Nigeria.
Tomato Crisis as Supplies Fall
The tomatoes are part of the Nigerian diet. Its scarce supply has caused prices to soar.
Shebu Sani, Senator for Kaduna expressed deep concern on the tomato crisis that triggered panic among Nigerian citizens.
“It is a serious problem. The disease has affected production and consumption, prices are continuing to rise and there is no availability.” – Shehu Sani, Senator
Losses are evident in Nigeria’s overall production income. The losses are said to be in the millions of dollars.
Nigerians Cannot Live Without Tomatoes
Tomatoes are an all time-fave ingredient in Nigeria’s diet particularly in the country’s traditional dish called the Jollof Rice. The dish will not be the same with the absence of tomatoes.
Senator Shehu Sani said, “People cannot do without tomatoes.”