Although tomato volumes have dropped, sales remain stable as prices hit an upward trend for now. But as with everything else in South Africa, load shedding does have an impact on those who farm with these vegetables hydroponically.
There are fewer tomatoes on South Africa’s shelves due to a nationwide supply shortage. In some parts of the country, farmers are reporting rainfall and hail damage. Experts warn that consumers are also in for higher-priced tomatoes in the near future.
Jannie Potgieter, sales agent at the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, confirms that tomato volumes at the market are unusually low this year. “We received 600 pallets lower in volumes compared to the original volume [of between] 1 200 to 1 300 pallets [last year]. It is just enough during January,” he pointed out.
However, according to Potgieter, the demand for tomatoes is not high at the moment. Dr. Johnny van der Merwe, an agricultural economist at the North-West University, said tomato prices bounced back this week from R7.87 per kilogram to R9.01 per kilogram. This means more money in farmers’ pockets but, unfortunately, a costly expense for consumers. “As expected, tomato prices bounced back, increasing by 15% [after] tomato prices decreased by 15% last week,” Van der Merwe explained.
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