Tomato prices have risen to higher levels in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial and financial capital, as northwestern states with capacity for commercial production experience severe weather owing to very high temperature, which is harsh for the commodity’s growth.
The limited production capacity has induced scarcity, moving the price of 50 kilogrammes of the produce by 33 percent to N20, 000 from a previous price of N15,000.
This comes as prices of other commodities, including palm oil, sugar, yam, rice, beans, flour, garri, semovita and cement remained unchanged.
The price of tomato has been fluctuating in the last 12 months with the highest price of N28,000 per 50kg quantity recorded so far, while the lowest price recorded in the period has been N8,000.
For palm oil, a measure of 25 litres is selling at N10, 000, but the same measure of the produce has so far seen a year’s high of N25,000.
Large tuber of old yam has also been steady in price posting N1,900. The price of a 50 kg bag is selling for N15,500. While 50 kg of sweet beans sell for N27, 000, 50 kilogramme of yellow garri is selling for N7,500; 10 kg of semovita is N2,900; 50kg of flour is selling for N10, 700; and 50kg of cement sells for N2,550.
Most of the tomatoes consumed in the south western region are grown in the north.
Sanni Yadakwari, secretary of the Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (ToGAN), in a telephone interview with business a.m. confirmed that tomato prices are currently high because there are no production activities between May and August due to hot temperatures in the northwestern states of Kano, Kaduna and Katsina, the major producing region.
“The weather is very hot and tomato is not friendly to that weather. It is only in places where the temperature is very low that production is going on. But they cannot produce as much as we can,” he said.
The available quantity, he said, were being grown in the north central areas of Jos, Plateau, Nassarawa, Taraba and towards Cameroun where the weather is cool for production.
Yadakwari who complained that the situation was not in farmers’ favour said: “If we can get the varieties that can resist that temperature, we can do it. That is why we are proposing production under green environment whereby you can produce all round the year. With that the prices will not be too high.”