Tomato prices rise in Nakuru as scarcity bites

Wednesday March 18 2020
WAKULIMA MARKET

Tomato traders at Nakuru’s Wakulima Market on February 25, 2020. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Middlemen are making a killing as the price of tomatoes hits the roof at Nakuru town's Wakulima Market.

A 64-kg box of tomatoes at the market is currently sold for between Sh7,000 and Sh10,000.

However, the moment the scarce produce hits the market, middlemen sell it to retailers for between Sh12,000 and Sh13,000 per box.

SH7,000

Ms Njeri Kigoce, a farmer in Subukia, said she is no longer spending money transporting her produce to Wakulima Market.  

“Since the beginning of this month [February], I have been selling my produce at the farm at Sh7,000 per box of 64kg,” said Ms Kigoce.

A retailer at the market said that a 2kg tin ,which was selling at Sh150 at the beginning of the year, now goes for Sh300.   

“Some customers have complained of the increased price and we are selling to them a piece of tomato at between Sh15 and Sh20 depending on its size as the majority cannot afford to buy a 2kg tin at Sh300,” said Ms Jennifer Mosinya.

SCARCITY

A broker in Njoro said that the scarcity of tomatoes has been caused by brokers who transport the produce to Kisumu.

“In Kisumu, we are getting good money as the price of a 64kg box could be as high as Sh15,000 depending on the number of brokers in the market,” said a broker.

A farmer in Kabazi said heavy rains at the beginning of the year destroyed his crop.

“I had invested Sh300,000 on my three-acre farm hoping to make a killing in February but the heavy rains destroyed my crop,” said Mr John Njoroge.