Local markets are facing a shortage of fresh tomatoes due to limited supply, Rwanda Today has established.
The shortage has led to an increase in prices as the cost of a kilogramme of fresh tomatoes increased o Rwf1000 from an average of Rwf600 around Kigali markets.
Traders attributed the shortage to limited supply as the country partly depends on imports of fresh produce from neighbouring countries such Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Jean Pierre Tuyishime, a tomato trader in Kanombe market, Gasabo district, the price of fresh tomatoes increased because local production is still limited.
“Tomato farmers are few compared with the demand from consumers”, said Tuyishime. According to the e-soko, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources’ platform that monitors the prices of the agricultural commodities through various market places, the price of fresh tomatoes has been on an upward trend.
In Rutsiro Nkora Market the prices increased to Rwf 750 a kilogramme, Gicumbi Byumba market at Rwf 950 a kilogramme, as well as in Kicukiro Ziniya market prices ranges between Rwf 800 and Rwf 1,000 per kilogramme for the past two months.
As a result of higher prices of fresh tomatoes, most households now use tomato paste which is considered to be affordable with a long shelf life.
Ali Maturin, a restaurant owner in Kabeza suburb, limited access to fresh tomatoes is increasing costs of doing business.
“I used to buy 10 kilogrammes of tomatoes for my restaurant at Rwf2500 before the pandemic struck, but it is impossible for me now to spend almost Rwf 10,000 on tomatoes in a day when I have other expenses," said Maturin.