El-Nino rains double horticulture crop prices

TANZANIA: The prices of some horticulture crops have over doubled since the torrential rain started to pound the country late last month.

‘Daily News’ spot survey on Tuesday revealed that the prices of tomatoes, onions and green peppers skyrocketed after rains wreaked havoc on road infrastructure making it difficult to transport goods from farms to markets.

Asia Rajabu, a tomatoes wholesaler at Ilala market, told Daily News yesterday that a wooden crate box now has gone up over two times from 40,000/- to 90,000/-.

“We are facing high demand of the tomatoes while the supply is low as lorries struggling to bring in supply from the farms,” she said.

The low supply has almost halved their profitability since sales dropped to three wooden crate boxes compared to the previous five plus.

The Ilala one of the largest horticulture markets in Dar es Salaam, currently receives supply from Arusha and Iringa. However, poor infrastructure in the rural areas yearned for more supply to meet its customer’s demand.

The high wholesale price compelled retailers in the same market to hike a five-liter bucket of tomatoes to 7,000/- from 4,000/- before the rains, which Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) termed El Nino, started.

An Ilala market, onions seller, Ms Debora Mbaga, said the price has doubled to 2000/- from 1000/- while supply from upcountry continued to dwindle considerably.

“Worse enough, buyers are also decreasing as high prices keep them at bay…. The business is facing a difficult time ahead,” Ms Mbaga said:

“We are struggling to meet our end needs. Overhead costs remain the same while revenue is decreasing.”

Another trader for green peppers and tomatoes Jane Isdory said the situation is getting complicated as days go by because they are not only losing customers but also revenues.

“Business is not good at all. From morning [to afternoon], I managed to sell merely five kilogrammes of green peppers compared to ten in previous days,” Ms Isdory said with a worried face.

Three weeks ago, TMA forecasted days of severe weather impact at the end of last month and this month accompanied by heavy rains in Dar es Salaam, Coast (specifically in Mafia Isles), Lindi and Mtwara regions.

The rains, according to TMA, were likely to affect some economic activities and localised floods.

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