Tomato prices have greatly reduced in markets across the Eastern Province, with farmers and traders attributing the decline to increased production.
The development is a big relief for consumers, who few weeks back had to dig deeper into their pockets to buy tomatoes.
Farmers told Business Times that the prices would most likely continue falling in the next two months or so.
In markets around the Eastern Province districts, traders are selling big tins full of tomatoes at Rwf1,000, down from Rwf5,000 recently. Wholesale prices are between Rwf700 and Rwf800, whereas a relatively small tin goes for between Rwf200 and Rwf500.
Jeanine Ugirimpuwe, a tomato dealer in Kibungo Market, said there is oversupply, leading to a sharp reduction in prices.
“During this period, there is a lot of tomatoes on the market. But since tomatoes are perishable, we sometimes pay farmers very low rates because one cannot afford to keep them lest they go bad. So, they have no alternative, but to sell at giveaway prices,” she said.
Ugirimpuwe, however, said traders were also not making a lot of profits either.
“This is not good time for traders to make profits because farmers can sell directly to consumers unlike when the farmers expect to get ‘good’ money from us during times of scarcity.”
Meanwhile, the prices of beans continue to skyrocket in markets across all the districts in the Eastern Province.
A kilogramme of beans, which cost Rwf350 in June, is now at Rwf800 in most markets in the province.
Claude Mugiraneza, a resident of Rwamagana District, said the increase was possibly the highest they have experienced in 10 years.
“We are registering record high bean price hikes. Buying a kilo of dry beans at Rwf800 is quite unusual…prices have been increasing but not to this level. We have actually changed our feeding habits as we cannot afford the high prices,” he noted.