Last year, 2020 in April, tonnes of tomatoes were ironically rotting in farms on increased supply and lack of market. Retail price for a tomato went up to Ksh 15 to Ksh 20 from Ksh 5 to Ksh 10. It became harder for Kenyans to dig deeper into their pockets and enjoy a well flavoured meal and struggle with prices of household items at the same time.
Most of the egg and sausage vendors complained a lot. They could no longer afford to buy tomatoes in order to prepare kachumbari (a mixture of tomatoes and onions) used to flavoure boiled eggs.
The most shocking part was the fact that the qualities of the tomatoes did not match with the prices because some were over ripen while others were still very raw. Prices in Mombasa hit the hardest by Ksh 50 to Ksh 70 from Ksh 5 to Ksh 10 for a tomato.
The prices were sharply risen and gone over the roof after a reported dispute between county authorities and traders.
This year, 2021, the narrative is different because there is an incredible increase in supply of the tomatoes that has dampened the tomatoes’ prices, especially in Nairobi.
Tomato traders at Muthurwa Market in Nairobi, are now complaining that the oversupply coupled with reduced demand are putting a damper on their returns.
A crate is now retailing off at Ksh 1800 from Ksh 6000 of last year. Making consumers to be at peace with the prices while the farmers are left angry at the annoying-forced prices that are making them hungry.
By Adah Tanui