Tomato trickling into the market eases price

Tomatoes photo by New Vision.jpg

Tomatoes at a market. Tomato prices are falling  in the Country. Photo by New Vision.

Consumers have started enjoying reduced tomato prices with the growing supply - two months after the end of the dry period.

Tomatoes take between 75 days and 120 days to mature after transplanting.  Rains started falling in mid March and intensifying in April and May.

In the first quarter of 2017, a 64kg crate of tomatoes rose to more than Sh6,000 in most towns across the country.

But the price has dropped by more than half to reach Sh2,000 and Sh2,800 in Kitui and Nakuru towns respectively.

 “The tomato is once again becoming affordable, not a luxury as it was a few weeks ago. By the start of May, I was almost giving up on the tomato unless it is a compulsory ingredient in given meal,” Grace Kivuta of Kitui said.

Three tomatoes that were costing Sh25 are now selling at Sh10, she said, adding that a cluster of four ‘grade 1’ fruits is going for Sh20.

The 64kg crate is costing Sh4,800 in Nairobi, Sh5,200 in Mombasa and Sh5,000 in Kisumu and Kitale. Kisii wholesalers are buying the crate at Sh4,000.

The prices are according to the Agricultural Authority of Kenya, a price watch department in the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, for the residents of Eldoret, the price has not changed much, with the crate costing Sh6,800 -  difference of Sh200 from the average past month’s cost.

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Although wholesalers in Mombasa may not be paying the highest price, the coastal city many, a time pays more than Sh80 per kilo even when the supply is in plenty.

Drought hit the in the country in the last quarter of 2017, causing a sharp rise of the price of commodities including milk, maize, vegetables, Irish potatoes, among others.

Maize is still selling at more than Sh4,000 in most parts of Kenya while vegetables have normalized  price.

Besides Mexico and South Africa, Kenya is also importing maize and sorghum from Uganda to fix the shortage, according to statistics from the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network.

Fresh milk this week also shed off Sh10 to retail at below Sh55 for every half a litre packet.

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