The price of tomato has crashed from N35, 000 thousand per basket in April and N25, 000 in May to N800 per basket, in Kaduna state.
The tomato crisis that hit Nigeria at the beginning of the second quarter of 2016, has eased considerably with the price of tomatoes dropping from N35,000 thousand per basket in April and N25,000 in May to the current price of about N800 per basket, in Kaduna state.
Tomato price has crashed because of the latest harvest of the fruits in major tomato producing states of Kaduna, Plateau and Gombe State where tomato thrives during the rainy season.
Also the effect of ‘Tuta absoluta’, the tomato mining pest that ravaged farms across the country especially in the Northern part of Nigeria has eased because of the rainy season.
The disease which local farmers called “tomato ebola” had affected the crop in most parts of the Northwest, notably Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina and Kano States.
As a result, the basket price jumped from between of N800 – N1200 to between N25,000 and N40,000 at the height of the crisis in April, 2016.
Tomato sellers, who spoke with Farmers Market say there is relief for everyone as tomato is now available and in large quantities.
During the crisis, farmers were left stranded and helpless as the moth ravaged their farms and left destruction across the farming community.
Hotels and restaurants, in particular, faced a nightmare as the crisis also shot up the price of canned tomato paste.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, declared a state of emergency and dispatched officials to Kenya to find ways of tackling the ravaging insects stating that The cost of the destruction in the state was close to N1 billion.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh also commissioned experts to find solutions to the disease outbreak while government also allowed the importation of tomatoes from Cameroon and Benin Republic to ease the crisis.
Despite the crash in the price of tomato, there are fears that the leaf mining pest ‘tuta absoluta’ may resurface early next year during the early tomato planting season as treatment for the disease has not yet been found.