One of the country’s largest tomato producers says prices will start dropping within the next two weeks. A temporary shortage of the fruit due to heavy rains earlier in the year, caused prices to skyrocket.
In January this year tropical storm Eloise hit South Africa and its neighbouring countries, causing a lot of persistent rainfall that resulted in severe flooding. This impacted certain crops, like tomatoes, negatively. Some vendors on the streets of Johannesburg’s Central Business District say their turnover has been affected.
“It is affecting my business because we used to sell four tomatoes for R5 and now we are selling them for R10. It has really affected my profit because I am not getting anything here, I am just using it to buy other stuff,” says one of the vendors.
Another vendor Rachel Masango says the price hike has scared off many of her customers.
“This tomato prices has gone up and has affected us, our customers are complaining about our prices. it is not easy to sell to a customer at double the price,” says Fruit and Vegetable Rachel Masango.
Consumers were not happy with the price increase. “I’m very sorry, R10 for three, it is too expensive. What is wrong, did they burn the farms?,” asked one if the consumers.
Tomato prices almost doubled and peaked at around R20 per kg on fresh produce markets. Producers expect the prices to start coming down by next month. They say production volumes have already improved, resulting in tomato prices stabilising, even though they are still about 30% above average.
ZZ2 Marketing Manager Clive Garrett says demand and supply have led to this issue but the farmers are not responsible for setting the prices: