Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture, has stated that the scarcity and high pricing of the country’s key product are caused by a major infestation of the tomato crop.

In a statement sent on Monday via his official X (previously Twitter) account, Kyari referred to the infection causing tomato scarcity as “Tomato Ebola” or “Tomato Leaf Miner”.

According to a report Business World on Sunday, a basket of tomatoes might sell for as much as N150,000 in some regions of the country. Meanwhile, the minister stated that the Federal Government had dispatched experts to the afflicted areas to contain and remove the infestation.

The Minister in an explanation disclosed that: “A large proportion of our tomato farms have been impacted by a serious infestation known as Tomato Ebola or Tomato Leaf Miner. This has significantly restricted the availability of tomatoes and contributed to soaring prices”.

Abubakar Kyari stated that the impact of the current situation has been recognized by the government and the government was bent on working hard to restore affordable tomato supply.

He promised that the ministry is taking quick steps to address this situation as it will be sending agricultural experts to affected areas to help contain and eradicate the infestation.

He reiterated that the ministry will provide farmers with resources and guidance to recover their crops quickly, similar to the Ginger Blight Control Taskforce.

Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that the price of tomatoes in Nigeria’s marketplaces surged in May, with sellers in Lagos, Abuja, and other areas selling the food item for as much as N140,000 to N150,000 per basket.

In the report, dealers ascribed the increase to usual seasonal changes in tomato production stating that the harvest period for the current tomato species on the market is nearly ended, with the arrival of the wet season across the country.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) latest Food Price Watch report for April, tomato prices have risen significantly in the last year.

The data shows that the price of 1kg of tomatoes increased by 131.58% between April 2023 and April 2024. This is a significant year-on-year increase in costs.

Furthermore, the analysis indicates that tomato prices would rise sharply in the short term. Between March and April 2024, the average price of a kilogramme of tomatoes increased by 17.06%.

This increase demonstrates a continuous upward trend in the price of this vital product.

Gabriel Eleojo Umoru
Gabriel Eleojo Umoru
I'm Gabriel Eleojo Umoru, a graduate of Mass Communication from Prince Abubakar Audu University (formerly Kogi State University Anyigba, Kogi State). My hobbies include writing, surfing the internet and listening to music. I'm into voice editing and project management. I also help people out in their research projects.

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