Ahead of Christmas celebration, prices of tomatoes, pepper and onions have reduced by about 45 per cent in Lagos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN price checks at Mile 12, Whitesand, Iddo and Oko Oba markets in Lagos on Monday, December 11, 2017 revealed that the drop in prices was due to bumper harvest of agricultural produce.
NAN reports that a basket of tomatoes, which previously sold for N15,000, now goes for N8,000 while red pepper (tatashe) now cost N8,000 compared to its previous price of N14,000 a basket.
A basket of chilli pepper (rodo) also reduced from N18,000 to N10,000 and a jute bag of onions, which previously cost N30,000, now goes for N20,000.
A 25-litre of vegetable oil, which previously sold for N11,500, now cost N10,700, palm oil decreased from N11,000 to N10,300, while a measure of garri now cost N400.
However, the price of a 50 kilogramme bag of rice ranged between N13,500 to N17,000, depending on the brand while a measure of beans cost N1,500.
Mr Femi Odusanya, spokesman for Mile 12 Market Traders Association, attributed the price drop to the ongoing harvest season for most of the produce.
“Over 20 per cent of the annual four million metric tonnes of tomatoes produced in the country is supplied to Mile 12 Market annually and redistributed to over 400 markets in Lagos and Ogun State and six ECOWAS countries.
“About 200,000 metric tonnes of the 800,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes annually supplied to Mile 12 Market get wasted due to postharvest losses.
“Presently, the supply of the produce is more than the demand because farmers commenced harvest in December and there would be surplus in the market till April when the harvest season would end.
“That is why we have been advocating for increased investment in tomato processing plant to mop up the excess and reduce waste, create jobs and increase contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Odusanya said.
He urged the three tiers of government to create an enabling environment toward attracting more investors to tomato processing in the country.
By Oluwafunke Ishola