If you have tomatoes on your farm right now, it is time to make a kill as the price has really skyrocketed in Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru and other parts of the country.
Nairobians seem to have embraced the use of Royco Cubes that go for 5 shillings instead of using tomatoes and onions that have now become a luxury.
In most parts of Nairobi, a tomato is now retailing at 30 shillings, up from between 20 and 25 shillings last week and from 5 shillings two months ago.
Those buying in bulk are at a reprieve, but not much breathing space. At the Muthurwa market, known for affordable groceries, customers are buying 4 tomatoes at 100 shillings when a month ago, the same 4 tomatoes were going for 20 shillings.
At Ngara Fig Tree market, customers are buying 2 tomatoes at 70 shillings, 1 between 30 and 35 shillings and those buying in bulk going home with 4 tomatoes at 100 and 120 shillings.
In Eastleigh, customers are buying a tomato between 20 and 25 shillings. Retailers who were selling the same commodity on wholesale to other smaller retailers have since opted not to since it is more profitable to sell to the customer directly.
Onions are also becoming gold. A large onion is going for 20 shillings from just 5 shillings a month ago. Those buying on wholesale, are buying 2 onions at 30 shillings in most parts of the city.
The shortage has been reported in other major cities such as Kisumu, Kakamega, Nakuru, Eldoret, and Mombasa.
“There are no tomatoes on the market. We have to travel for days actually to get the merchandise. For me, I bought my stock from Busia,” says Mary Wanjiku, a trader at Ngara Fig Tree market in a brief chat Friday morning.
Farmers have blamed the large amounts of rainfall that dominated the country towards the end of 2019. “Tomatoes don’t like too much rainfall. Kenyans will have to suffer for a while,” said Nicholas Mumbo, a tomato farmer in Kajiado in a brief phone interview.