Matete Sub County hit by tomato shortage

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A section of traders at Lwandeti market in Matete
A section of traders at Lwandeti market in Matete

Vegetable traders in Matete, Kakamega County have decried soaring tomato and onion prices owing to increased cost of living.

The business people observed that prices of the produce had increased by over 100 per cent due to increased cost of production and transportation.

They claimed that the few tomatoes they get are being sold at high prices which are transferred to consumers.

A section of traders at Lwandeti market in Matete
A section of traders at Lwandeti market in Matete

One of the traders at Lwandeti market, Rose Juma stated that a crate of tomatoes which used to sell at Sh 3,800 is currently going for more than Sh 8,000.

“Customers are even opting not to buy tomatoes due to high prices. Sometimes we find ourselves throwing away our merchandise despite buying it at a higher price,” said Juma.

She noted that currently they are forced to move for long distances to get tomatoes and onions, adding that the long distance has also contributed to hiking the price.

Last month, the trader said they were selling a kilo of tomatoes at Sh 60 but currently the same quantity is being sold at Sh. 200.

“Local residents normally buy quality tomatoes at not more than Sh 50 but now mentioning Sh 100 for a kilo of tomatoes is like scaring them,” she added

Another trader, Milcah Chevutili said as business people who trade in vegetables they team up together and source for merchandise so as to reduce cost of transport.

She appealed to the Kakamega  County government to consider lowering levies charged to small scale traders.

A section of traders at Lwandeti market in Matete (
A section of traders at Lwandeti market in Matete (

“I appeal to County administration at least to waive fees they charge us until the situation improves because we are incurring losses due to the unavailability of the produce. We are suffering and are unable to pay loans since we are not making any profit. Imagine buying a tomato each at Sh.20, how will you sell to customers.We get tomatoes from Mwea but for the last three weeks we have not been getting the produce and we are wondering what is happening? She posed.

Many of the traders buy the tomatoes and other vegetables from middlemen who deliver the produce to them while others prefer to buy directly from farms.