Heavy rains blamed for high Tomato prices

Prices of tomatoes were still to recover from production challenges. South Africa’s biggest tomatoes producer ZZ2, confirmed that there was temporary shortage of tomatoes.

Speaking on 702 Talk Radio, ZZ2 marketing manager Clive Garret, said this was partly due to the January and February heavy rains.

“Tomatoes need a lot of water. They love water but they don’t like rain,” he said. The devastating Tropical Cyclone Eloise also had an impact on the production yield of the tomatoes.

According to the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), during this period, the Northern areas witnessed persistent wet conditions which had the potential in the occurrence of fungal pathogens.

The crop under heavy rains can suffer several problems shortening harvesting period and affecting yields.

These factors can push farm gate prices and national fresh produce markets ultimately affecting retail prices.

The shortage of tomatoes meant an increase in tomatoes retail prices which were higher than the previous year in the week same.

“Consequently, tomato prices retained the recent uptrend and closed at R16.88/kg which is up by 27.3% week on week (w/w) and almost 130% higher relative to the same week in 2020” said Paul Makube of FNB.

ZZ2 said the situation was expected to abate after the unexpected January and February heavy rainfalls.

“In dry conditions, tomatoes flourish as long as you have enough water or water rivers or dams, but when you have excess rains like we’ve had in January and February, generally tomatoes don’t thrive,” affirmed Garret.

 The National Fresh Produce also experienced a shortage of potatoes, carrots and cauliflower during this period.

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