Some tomato traders and consumers have lamented the recent scarcity and hike in the price of the produce in the country.
They said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The traders who attributed the scarcity and hike to seasonal occurrence said there was nothing they could do but to sell in accordance with the market value.
They, however, predicted that the scarcity would likely last till late September or early October.
Mr Musa Yakubu, a tomatoes trader in a popular Ile-epo market at the Alimosho Local Government, said the boom season of tomatoes had passed.
Yakubu added that the harvest season of tomatoes was over, hence the recent hike in the price of the produce.
“The tomato species available currently is the plum tomatoes from the south, popularly known for its high water content and tangy taste,” Yakubu said.
On his part, Mr Umar Yusuf, another tomato seller, said the scarcity of the produce led to the hike in the price of the produce.
“Tomatoes are currently expensive because they are out of season, transporting them from north to south is also a major factor that has affected price hike of the produce.
“A medium basket of tomatoes goes between N24,000 and N30,000 depending on the size of the fruit, while a raffia basket sells for N42,000.
“A small basket of tomatoes presently sells at N16,000 as against N5,000 or N6,000 in March/April, this is because the produce is out of season.
“There is nothing we can do about it, it is a seasonal scarcity,” Yusuf said.
Some of the consumers said they have no choice but to improvise the use of tomatoes in their cooking due to the price hike.
Mrs Josephine Kallo, a resident at Amuwo-Odofin area of the state, says she buys only what she can afford.
“The cost of tomatoes has risen astronomically, we used to buy a small paint bucket for N1,500 some weeks ago but now it goes for as high as N4,000.
“The traders said that we are out of the season of tomatoes as the rains have begun and it is destroying the crops.
“We have no choice but to buy what we can afford or improvise to make meals for our families,” Kallo said.
Another resident in the Ojo area of the state, Mrs Nelice Jaule, said since the scarcity of the produce, she no longer buys fresh tomatoes.
“I don’t buy fresh tomatoes again since the recent hike in the price. In spite of the price increase, the quantity is nothing to take home.
“We now make use of tin tomatoes, red bell peppers, habanero pepper and a lot of onions for our stews as tomatoes have become gold,” Jaule said.
Mrs Patricia Amanyi, a resident at Isolo area of the state, called for preservation measures for the produce to avert recurrence.
“This seasonal scarcity and consequent hike in tomato price is something we have observed over the years.
‘Since the price hike this year, I have not bought tomatoes, I make use of tomatoes that I preserved in January, February and March during the peak season.
“If we can learn how to preserve tomatoes in its peak season, we will not face this annual scarcity and hike in the price of the produce,” Amanyi said.