June 24, 2024

Rising cost of tomato: Households adopt weird alternatives to make stew

Rising cost of tomato: Households adopt weird alternatives to make stew

By Elizabeth Adegbesan

Nigerians are coming to terms with the rising cost of living, as everyday spews out new problems deserving a survival strategy.

One of such problems is the high price of tomato, pepper and onion.

These combos can’t be exempted from 80 per cent of Nigerian delicacies.

But now, it is no longer new that a N1,000 tomato consisting of five medium-sized pieces can not prepare a full pot of sauce for a household of three people for a week.

Econom&Lifestyle found that many women have been struggling with various methods to complement rice, yam and other delicacies that are not complete without stew.

For Mrs. Gladys Maxwell, a tailor, she made use of N1,000 cucumber to complement her yam and rice sauce, after watching a presentation of such online.

“I have tried using cucumber to prepare sauce, just like tomato.
“I saw the demonstration on-line and followed the steps.
“I added fresh pepper and used palm oil to make it red in colour.
“It was good. My pot was full. Imagine replacing tomato sauce with cucumber mix.
“Cucumber is also vegetable.
“I had to tell a friend to adopt the strategy.

“I made my family to finish the meal before I revealed the combination that made the sauce on their rice. They were surprised.

“It’s good we try new things to survive in this country, because I doubt the price of tomato and peppers will come down soon.”

Mrs. Hannah Mayowa, a Point of Sale, PoS, agent, said she tried replacing tomato sauce with cabbage and beetroot.

“I was with a friend a few weeks ago. I complained bitterly about how I struggle to manage money to prepare tomato sauce weekly for my family.

“You know that many families in Nigeria, especially Lagos State, have this tradition of preparing rice and tomato sauce every Sunday.

“My family happened to fall into such a category.

“My friend told me to try cucumber or cabbage and beetroot stew.

“She sent the videos to me and I decided to do that of carrot and beetroot.

“After boiling and blending them, the outcome was like the sachet tomato paste we buy in the market.

“I was shocked and at the same time happy that I found a solution to my worries with just N2,000.

“I have tried using carrot but the taste I don’t like and it makes my last child visit the toilet a lot.
“I pray the price of tomato drops. There is nothing like it when preparing sauce.”

Mrs. Modupeoluwa Adebowale, a trader, said she had a taste of cucumber sauce and doesn’t like it.

She added: “I decided to use our old solution which was the use of dried habanero pepper. I soaked it till it softened and blended it with enough onion to fine-tune its taste. Then I add sachet tomato paste. My sauce is ready.

“The habanero pepper is known to thicken sauce.”

However, the replacement of tomatoes using other alternatives for preparing sauce has affected tomato sellers and grinders in the market.

Mrs. Rahimot Mojeed, a fresh tomato seller, said: “Since the price of tomato and pepper increased, sales have dropped.

“Before, when there was a drop in supply of tomatoes due to the out of season effect, people still managed to buy.

“But now, there is nothing like that. I heard people now use cucumber, carrot and cabbage to prepare sauce the most. Some even use “ata gbigbe” meaning dry habanero pepper and sachet tomato paste to prepare stew for rice.

“I now buy tomatoes in little quantities because it is a perishable good and it’s now expensive. When it softens, it will result in a huge loss for me as there’s less patronage.”

Miss Patience Oboh, a pepper grinder said she patronized the market asking those buying tomatoes to allow her to blend it for a N200 fee.

“In a day, I have up to 20 people who I blend tomatoes for.

“Since the price of tomatoes increased, I hardly get 10 customers.

“I now have to roam the market searching for those who are interested in blending their tomatoes of which many decline saying, “I will use my blender at home. The way tomatoes are expensive now, I can’t allow your machine to consume half of it all in the name of blending.”

“It is a phase. I believe it will pass.”