Kenya’s Tomato Market Drops By 40 Percent Due To Influx Of Ethiopian Tomatoes

By Lynnet Okumu / Published May 27, 2022 | 10:42 am




KEY POINTS

During dry seasons, tomato prices usually shoot high on the back of the high demand caused by the shortage. However, the importation of tomatoes from Kenya's northern neighbour has led to depressed prices.


Tomato

KEY TAKEAWAYS


While the farmers are affected deeply, consumers face the worst economic crunch ever. The ongoing drought delayed rains, and high input costs have led to depressed yields, contributing to the prevailing high commodity prices.


Kenyan tomato farmers have witnessed a drop of up to 40 percent in the wholesale commodity prices over the past one month due to the flooding of Ethiopian tomatoes in the local market.

The approximate price range for the commodity in various markets stands at 310.15 shillings per kilogram, even though this should be a profit reaping period for farmers.

During dry seasons, tomato prices usually shoot high on the back of the high demand caused by the shortage. However, the importation of tomatoes from Kenya’s northern neighbour has led to depressed prices.

The average price for a ton is 332,270.57 shillings in Mombasa and Nairobi, while the 200Kg crate sells at 10,000 shillings in Nairobi.

In Nairobi’s Fig Tree Market, consumers pay 10 shillings for one small tomato fruit. In comparison, Muthiru market traders sell three medium-sized tomatoes for twenty shillings and 50 shillings for four large-sized ones.

The news is far more favourable for onion farmers. Despite the best efforts of brokers to lower farm gate prices, onion prices have been on an upward trajectory now at an average of 100 shillings per kilogram as markets remain grossly undersupplied.

ALSO READ: Food Crisis Looms as Kenya Faces Wheat, Maize Shortage

The price of a small sack of onions (10kg) that was going for 1,000 shillings in November is now 1,200 shillings, according to traders at Marikiti market in Nairobi.

A single onion retails between 10 and 15 shillings apart from small ones, which are 5 shillings across major towns.

Onion growers can rest easy for a while as the usual influx of Tanzanian onions into the country is not expected for another couple of months.

Meanwhile, despite the increase in potato prices by 10 percent, market prices have been falling steadily due to Tanzanian potatoes’ entry into the country.

A kilogram of Irish potatoes retails at 35.37 shillings, while a 50Kg bag goes for 3000 shillings in Nairobi and Mombasa.

While the farmers are affected deeply, consumers face the worst economic crunch ever. The ongoing drought delayed rains, and high input costs have led to depressed yields, contributing to the prevailing high commodity prices.

This, however, is countered by the high cost of living, which has weakened the spending power of Kenyans and means brokers can’t afford to increase prices.






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