Tomatoes ready for sale. Traders are making less profit despite increase of the tomato production. Photo by BBC.
Unlike when the price of the commodities was high about three months ago, tomato traders are making low profits as the supply rises.
Apart from the selling sheds, more tomato vendors have endeared to the sidewalks of Waiyaki Way and nay other free space within the market with high traffic with wheelbarrow and hand-cuts to capture passing by customers. Most of them are selling four to six tomatoes for Sh10.
The hand-cuts are also common in the residential areas as the hawkers come calling and shouting their cheap ware.
“It was better for us when the price of a 64kg tomato crate was selling at Sh6,500. A few of us were buying and selling well. Despite the price, the consumers looked for us into this sheds tacked away from the road,” Rose Mecha, a tomato trader in Kangemi said.
In March for instance, Rose sold a 64kg crate in two days. But now it is taking six to seven days.
Tomatoes shot in price from an average of Sh3,500 to reach Sh7,000 in most town in Kenya during the prolonged drought of November 2016 to March 2017.
Three tomatoes were costing between Sh30 and Sh50 depending on the market. But the price has fallen to two tomatoes for Sh10 while the lower quality fruits are selling at three or four for the same amount of money.
“When we were few, I could make Sh4,000 profit from the 64kg crate in two days. Although we buy it cheap now, it takes long for me to finish one of them to get about Sh2,000 on top of the buying price,” Joy Mwende, another tomato trader in the market said.
The prolonged drought caused a surge in prices of basic consumer goods including vegetables, fruits cooking flour among others.