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The 2024 Tomato Season: Dealing with Tomato prices 250% Higher than in 2023

The cost of tomatoes has risen exponentially in recent months, leaving Nigerians shocked and frustrated. The price hike has affected households, restaurants, and businesses alike, with many struggling to afford this essential ingredient. We explore: - The reasons behind the sudden price hike - How the increase is impacting food prices and inflation - Possible solutions to address the crisis

From salads to curries, tomatoes are a staple in Nigeria cuisine. But with prices reaching unprecedented levels, many are being forced to rethink their menus and budgets.

The overall trend in many markets around the world is that of lower prices for tomatoes. This is largely due to lower demand from consumers coupled with stronger supply. The case is different here in Nigeria, there is a very low supply of tomatoes--this has caused prices to swell over the past 3 months.

In Nigeria, as the rains continue pouring, traders continue to bemoan the low patronage. Compared to previous years, traders report a significant reduction in tomato supply volume in the two major production areas of Jos and Kaduna. Early rainfalls affected the tomato fruit setting rate, leading to a decrease in yield. 

For elite buyers, shopping for tomatoes even from high retail stores like Shoprite is still expensive, the imports of tomatoes from Morocco and South Africa, which have augmented local supply, together with the supply from neighboring Cameroon and Benin Republic, have contributed to the significant increase in prices as movement of goods into Nigeria whether by direct or indirect means is costing more than normal.

The tomato sales report monitored by the media is flashing red for H1 2024. Compared to the past five years, last month's prices have climbed more sharply. Across the board, the price is at ₦150,000 per basket, above the average of ₦45,000 same time last year.

To mitigate these challenges and stabilize tomato prices, we need to adopt comprehensive solutions:

By investing in better road networks and transportation infrastructure can reduce travel time and costs. This can be achieved through public-private partnerships to ensure sustainable maintenance and development of transport routes.

Implementing modern logistics systems, including cold storage facilities at strategic points, can reduce post-harvest losses and maintain the quality of tomatoes during transit—this is an opportunity for the private sector/foreign investment

Addressing seasonality of production which includes promoting greenhouse farming can allow for year-round production of tomatoes, reducing dependency on seasonal cycles. Government subsidies and training programs for farmers can facilitate the adoption of greenhouse technologies. Providing subsidies for essential inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides can lower production costs. Government programs can support farmers by making these inputs more affordable and accessible.

Training farmers in modern farming techniques, including precision agriculture and organic farming, can enhance productivity and reduce costs. Extension services and agricultural institutes can play a pivotal role in knowledge transfer.

Encouraging the formation of farming cooperatives can enable farmers to pool resources, access bulk discounts on inputs, and share knowledge. Cooperatives can also improve farmers' bargaining power in the market. Establishing dedicated loan schemes and subsidies for tomato farmers can provide much-needed financial support. These programs should have low-interest rates and flexible repayment terms to encourage uptake.

Nigeria's dependency on imported tomatoes also exacerbates price volatility. Promoting local production can reduce this dependency, implementing favorable trade policies that protect local farmers from cheap imports can encourage domestic production. Tariffs on imported tomatoes and support for local producers can create a more competitive market.

Expanding the reach of microfinance institutions and cooperative banks can improve access to credit for small-scale farmers. These institutions can offer tailored financial products to meet the unique needs of tomato farmers.

Encouraging public-private partnerships can attract investment in the tomato sector. Collaboration between the government, private sector, and international organizations can create funding opportunities and technical support for farmers.

This value represents the annual price (excluding various perimeters and incentives) for the costs measured above, market analysis has been measured against urban prices in the major markets in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos.


As it stands, the cost of a basket of tomatoes is averagely around ₦150,000 (£75.54, $95.81).



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