FG blames tomato scarcity, price increases across Nigeria on farm infestation

The Minister of Agriculture, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has said that a severe infestation of the tomato crop is the reason for the scarcity and elevated prices of the essential commodity in the country.

In a statement on Monday via his official X (formerly Twitter) account, Kyari referred to the infestation causing tomato scarcity as “Tomato Ebola” or “Tomato Leaf Miner.”

Recall that it was reported on Sunday that a basket of tomatoes was selling for as high as N150,000 in some parts of the country, according to a market survey conducted by Nairametrics.

Meanwhile, the minister noted that the Federal Government has sent experts to the affected regions to control and eradicate the infestation.

What Kyari said

The Minister explained,

“A significant number of our tomato farms have been affected by a severe infestation known as Tomato Ebola or Tomato Leaf Miner. This has drastically reduced the availability of tomatoes and contributed to rising costs.

“Our ministry is taking immediate action to combat this issue. We are deploying agricultural experts to affected areas to contain and eliminate the infestation.

“Additionally, we are supporting our farmers with the necessary resources and guidance to recover their crops as quickly as possible, just as we instituted the Ginger Blight Control Taskforce.

“We understand the impact this has on your daily lives and are working tirelessly to resolve the situation and restore the supply of affordable tomatoes,


Earlier on Sunday, Nairametrics reported that the price of tomatoes skyrocketed in May in Nigeria’s markets as traders in Lagos, Abuja, and other places sell the food item for as high as N140,000 and N150,000 per basket.

According to the report, traders attributed the spike to regular seasonal fluctuations in the quantity of tomatoes produced.

They said the harvest period for the current species of tomatoes being sold is almost over with the coming of the wet season across the country.

Nairametrics observed that as of April 2024, the price of similar food products was sold between N50,000 to N100,000, indicating over 100% increase in less than a month.

What you should know

According to the latest Food Price Watch report for April from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), there has been a significant increase in tomato prices over the past year.

  • The data reveals that the price for 1kg of tomatoes has escalated by 131.58% from April 2023 to April 2024. This marks a substantial year-on-year rise in cost.
  • In addition, the report highlights a sharp increase in tomato prices in the short term as well.
  • Between March and April 2024, the average price for 1kg of tomatoes rose by 17.06%.
  • This increase shows a continuing upward trend in the price of this essential commodity
  • Similarly, a recent analysis by SBM Intelligence, known as the Jollof Rice Index, has tracked the cost of cooking Jollof rice across major cities in Nigeria.
  • The index shows that the average cost of preparing this popular dish has surged.
  • Specifically, the cost to prepare a standard serving of Jollof rice reached N17,000 in March 2024, up from N13,106 in October 2023.

This rise represents a significant increase in the cost of ingredients essential to this staple dish, impacting households across the nation.

by Cyrus Ademola

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