Auchi (Edo) – Some residents of Auchi and its environs have decried the high cost of tomatoes in the area.
Some of them said that the situation had increased their hardship and made life more difficult for them.
A basket of the variety of tomatoes, popularly known as “Hausa tomatoes’’, which was sold at N3, 000 about a month ago, is now being sold at N16, 000.
At Uchi market, four small seeds of tomato now sell at N100, while six to seven medium-sized tomatoes now cost between N150 and N200.
Investigation revealed that the prohibitive cost of tomatoes has forced many residents to do without tomatoes when preparing meals, while some tomatoes’ sellers have abandoned the business.
A housewife, Mrs Nana Abdul, who did not blame anybody for the high cost of tomatoes, nonetheless, described the situation as “pathetic”, particularly in view of the prevailing economic downturn in the country.
“If one spends so much in buying tomatoes, which is just an item in a meal’s preparation, how then can you afford other items?” she asked.
Faith Oise, another resident of Auchi, said that the high cost of tomatoes had compelled her to cook meals that required less tomatoes “and if I must use tomatoes for my food, I now buy the one in tin cans.
Another housewife, Mrs Maimunat Adigun, said that the high cost of tomatoes had compounded the economic hardship of the people, particularly the poor.
“Anyway, I am sure that the present situation is caused by the rains and it is obvious that tomatoes cannot be abundantly available throughout the year.
“But how long can we continue like this? Why should we spend so much money on foodstuff when we have other bills to pay to keep life going?” Adigun asked.
However, tomatoes sellers in the area attributed the high cost of tomatoes to scarcity caused by insufficient supplies from farms in the northern parts of the country.
One of the sellers, Mrs Iyabo Momoh, nonetheless, noted that the problem was often experienced around this time of the year.
“The situation is not new but what is worrisome is that we have never seen tomatoes as expensive as what we are experiencing now.
“Besides, our customers are apparently not aware that the cost of tomatoes we buy dictates our selling prices. The price will definitely come down but how soon is what we don’t know.
“Hausa tomatoes have really gone out of reach of the ordinary man. As a result, we have resorted to buying and selling native (Okpella) tomatoes, which are quite less expensive.
“The native tomatoes are sold in basins, while the Hausa type is sold in baskets. The native one currently goes for N8, 000 per basin,” Momoh added. (NAN)