Tomatoes rise to rival egg prices after rains destroy crop

Tomato prices have risen by up to 50 percent after heavy rains Kenya has been receiving since October destroyed the crop, leading to low yields.

A random inspection of several vegetable stalls in Nairobi shows that the price of a single tomato has increased by between 5 and 15 shillings compared to 10 shillings months ago, meaning that a tomato now costs almost as much as an egg, whose prices range from 15 shillings. at Sh20.

Some of the tomatoes on sale are also of low quality and show signs of having been severely affected by hail storms and diseases.

According to traders, the supply of tomatoes from major producing counties such as Kiambu, Murang’a and Kirinyaga has decreased.

Other major tomato producing counties are Taita Taveta, Narok, Lamu, Siaya, Kajiado, Machakos, Trans Nzoia, Kitui, Meru, Makueni, Bungoma, Laikipia, Nakuru, Homa Bay and Bomet, according to the Agriculture and Food Authority.

“Tomato prices have gone up in Gikomba, Marikiti and other markets where we buy them,” said Mary Kabai, a vegetable trader in Roysambu, Nairobi.

Farmers say heavy rains, which left large swaths of land submerged in floodwaters, destroyed the crop.

Farmers planting the crop in open fields suffered more losses than those growing tomatoes in greenhouses.

“The rains were very heavy and destroyed my tomatoes, which were flowering. We have been forced to increase the price of the little we harvest,” said John Kagwe, a Murang’a farmer.

The rains also made some rural roads in key producing areas impassable, making it difficult for perishable products to reach the market.

The rise in the cost of tomatoes follows a similar rise in onion prices. Red onion prices now average Sh200 per kilogram, double the average cost of Sh100 during a similar period last year, following a shortage in the market after Tanzania restricted exports last year.

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