Tomato prices in West Pokot County have escalated with a single fruit of the popular kitchen berry selling at Sh10.
According to retail traders who spoke to KNA, the price shift has been occasioned by the shortage in supply with farmers of the commodity saying the rainy season has affected production.
“Tomatoes are very sensitive to weather and they thrive very well during dry seasons because there are less pests and disease attacks. With the current cold weather and heavy rains, the crop is difficult to maintain,” said Peter Mnangat, a farmer.
Mnangat said his production has dwindled since the advent of the long rains and misty weather conditions.
He added that he abandoned the growing of tomatoes until the sunny conditions start thus having nothing to supply to the market.
The small scale traders lamented that there is an acute shortage of tomatoes and they are buying the little available on the wholesale market at very exorbitant prices.
“My customers are shocked when I ask for Sh10 for one tomato. I have no option but that remains the market price because even the quality of the available tomatoes is wanting,” stated Mercy Wamalwa, a grocer at Bendera market in Kapenguria.
West Pokot County has all kinds of weather and the warmer areas can be apt for tomato production if famers invest in green houses although the biggest challenge in such areas is lack of water to practice irrigation agriculture.