Market women, housewives relieved as tomatoes return

Scarcity of fresh tomatoes which hit the country a couple of months back is gradually coming to an end with the influx of fresh, red tomatoes in the market now.

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s findings revealed that fresh tomatoes are coming back to the market again. Though said to be the local northern tomatoes, market women and housewives have heaved a sigh of relief with this development.

The price is just slightly different from what it was a month back. It has been widely accepted by women who have missed fresh tomatoes to make stew.

Starting from N100 and above, women can now savour the fresh taste and aroma it gives to food.

Nigerian women had to look for alternatives when fresh tomatoe were scarce. Some women didn’t make a pot of stew for over a month and more because they couldn’t get fresh tomatoes. While some took solace in dry tomatoes which many complained that it made stew black. Some women took to other discoveries like using carrot to make stew, while some families lived on soups that could be made without fresh tomatoes. Canned tomato puree came to the rescue but it’s taste couldn’t be compared with fresh tomatoes.

When the scarcity was at its peak, two pieces of fresh tomatoes was sold for N200. A big basket full at the local market was sold for N35,000 instead of N7 – N10,000.

Now that it is returning to the market, a big basket is sold for N25,000 and one could get a handful at N100.

Market women attributed the scarcity to the tomatoes ebola that ravaged the northern part of the country where tomato is predominantly grown.  Some blame the scarcity on the present administration because they are not paying attention to the agriculture sector like their predecessor. Some people are of the opinion that Boko Haram insurgency in a north contributed to scarcity.

ENCOMIUM weekly sampled some opinions of market women and housewives about this development.



Tomatoes are coming back gradually and I hope we will see more improvement with time. I stopped selling tomatoes when it was expensive. At a point, they were selling a basket for almost N40,000. It got to a point that there was none even at Ile Epo, Lagos. It is coming back again now.



Yes, fresh red tomatoes are back. I bought this basket at Ile Epo for N25,000. I can sell N100 worth of tomatoes now. Before, N200 was the minimum I could sell.



The government should encourage more people to grow tomatoes, they need to encourage agriculture. What do we fall back on with the way things are going in this nation. A month back, most households couldn’t afford fresh tomatoes, it has never happened in the history of this country. The least you could spend on tomatoes was N1000. Even at that, the stew will only last for three days.



I stopped making stew then. It was too expensive.  I made soups and used tomato paste. I found out that tomato paste manufacturers were using colouration to make their product red. So, I had to stop. Two small sick looking tomatoes were sold for N200. It was terrible, may we not go back to that time again.



As an Igbo woman,. I had to learn other ways to make more soups to sustain the house. I am happy that tomatoes are coming back again. My husband who can’t do without eating stew complained for the first time. He didn’t believe me until we went out together and I priced it in his presence.



I think it is coming back, but I don’t want to rejoice too much before I will get to the market and they will call two pieces N500. I was using dry pepper and tomatoes mixed with tomato paste before.



It is better now. I bought N300 worth, that is enough to make stew that would last a couple of days. At least they are not looking sickly like the ones sold when it was scarce.



I was making concoctions while it was scarce. My children complained but I couldn’t help it . I am happy we can afford it now.



I own a small restaurant around. I was using dry tomatoes with tomato paste. Customers that complained were referred to the market to see things for themselves.  I hope the price will drop further.



To me, it is just a slight relief. I used to buy N50 worth of tomatoes. With N150, I have enough to last the house for a couple of days. I want a further drop in price.


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