For about a month now, the availability of tomatoes in the market has been so low, driving prices through the roof – upwards of 400 percent according to Nigerians.
Before the current scarcity, Nigeria was the 14th largest producer of tomatoes in the world and the largest producer of tomatoes in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the country produces about 1.5 million tons of tomatoes a year, but over 900,000 tons is lost to rot due to lack of storage and other factors.
It is on the premise of the monumental waste of tomatoes yearly that businessman, Aliko Dangote built a $20 million tomato processing plant, a wise business decision anyone would think seeing the availability and abundance of raw materials.
However, against the run of annual play, a tragedy struck the nation’s tomato farms and Nigerians have had to deal with an acute scarcity of the fruit as well as a sharp increase of over 400% in its price.
The main reason for the scarcity is a debilitating pest attack which greatly reduced the quantity of this year’s harvest of tomatoes.
The pest, known as Tuta absoluta infested tomato farms in Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Plateau states drastically cutting short the nation’s supply of the fruit.
So we must be dying of envy for Spain.
See this tweet below.
Spain tomato festival.
See ehn, let's just be looking o. Ka sha ma woran pic.twitter.com/sktpGPgIAW
— all_things_peperempe (@TheJummyKosch) May 21, 2016
La Tomatina, is a festival in Spain where people throw tomatoes at each other in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes.
A large tonne of tomatoes is usually destroyed during this particular festival.
See more pictures from the 2016 Tomato Festival.