Nigeria: Tomato prices jump 363% as disease curbs output

The recurrence of Tuta absoluta, popularly known as ‘Tomato Ebola’, has exposed the federal government’s inability to tackle underrated threats facing the country’s food security, according to BusinessDay’s findings.

Nigeria had an opportunity of quelling the recurrence of Tomato Ebola eight years ago after it suffered from the devastating invasion of the Tuta absoluta pests.

However, the government has instead allowed it to recur year after year, leading to the current ravages in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Gombe states, with an estimated N1.3 billion loss, according to the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT).

The situation in tomato-producing states has led to a 363 percent increase in the price of fresh tomatoes in Lagos markets in four months. A big basket of fresh tomatoes in Mile 12 Market in Lagos is sold for between N43,000 and N45,000, depending on negotiation, as against N9,500 in January, according to a BusinessDay market survey. The price of a plastic crate of fresh tomatoes is between N18,000 and N19,000.


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