Traders decry hike in prices of tomatoes in Port Harcourt
Traders under the Fruit and Vegetable Marketers Association in Port Harcourt on Thursday decried hike in prices of fresh tomatoes in the state, attributing the hike to scarcity.
A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the popular Fruit Garden market in Port Harcourt showed that the prices of tomatoes and other fruits had soared.
Mr Victor Eze, the Chairman of the Association, said that fresh tomatoes were scared in the Northern part of the country and traders now import it from Cameroon.
Eze attributed the scarcity of the commodity in the North to lack of rain, which made the fruit off season.
“Tomatoes are now scarce, we import from Ghana, but Ghana is off season so we buy from Cameroon because our species from Jos are off season as a result of rain.
“We heard that Dangote bought a large tomatoes farm in the North yet it’s not enough for his company.
“Currently, he also buys from Cameroon where we buy and the prices are twice what we buy from the North because of the distance,’’ he said.
Mrs Helena Franklin, a tomatoes trader, said that the small basket of tomatoes, which was been sold between N800 and N1500 now sells for N16, 000, while a big basket now cost N32, 000.
“We have decided not to buy the available tomatoes from the North due to high cost of the fruit,” Franklin said.
She called on government to support tomatoes and fruits farmers with more incentives.
Mrs Nkechi David, a tomatoes seller, also appealed to the Federal Government to diversify the economy through agriculture.
David urged the government to create enabling environment for farmers to produce enough food for the masses instead of importing.