In Tanzania, a glut of tomatoes has depressed prices to uneconomic levels. A large number of small-scale farmers began growing the crop this season, after seeing last year's high prices. This has led to the oversupply and subsequent drop in price.

According to Mr Jonas Malta, a resident of Morogoro Region, the price of one crate of tomatoes last season was Sh60,000. But this season it has fallen to between Sh7,000 and Sh8,000.

That has been the trend in other parts of the country too.

An agribusiness consultant, Mr Ebron Mwakalinga, says creating a conducive environment for promoting agro-industries to add value to tomatoes for local consumption and exports will enable farmers to make a profit.

He also talks about the need to explore ways of finding foreign markets for processed tomatoes. "China is the major exporter of tomato paste. China's exports of tomato paste account for more than 70 per cent of global market." 

Tanzania Horticultural Association chief executive officer Jacquiline Mkindi would like tomato production and processing to be increased and reliable markets found both at home and abroad. 

Factories such as Lulu Tomato based at Mlandizi and Darshi have been complaining about poor off-season supplies.

(1 Tanzanian Shilling=0.00046 USD)

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