Tomato farmers in Cameroon remain one of the most hit set of economic actors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is one of those crops which are exported to neighboring countries for commercial purposes and adds up to the percentage of the country’s gross domestic product, GDP.
For months now there has been little or no exportation of this produce. Due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown of borders since March 18, it has been practically impossible for those who trade in this agricultural produce to export or make high sales.
Tomato farmer, Henry Ndie, who exports his produce says “this has been a very difficult season for those of us who produce this fruit as we have not been able to export. This has made sales very difficult and due to this, we are forced to sell at cheaper prices.”
“If we decide to keep them, it is to our disadvantage as being a perishable commodity, it will get bad and be thrown away,” he explains.
Ironically, it is an exciting period for home-based consumers who say they are very impressed with the prices now as one can get a basket of tomatoes at 3500frs or sometimes 2000frs
This situation is so heartbreaking for producers, some of whom are also unable to pay the loans they took to farm this year.
Though faced with this challenge, they remain with fingers crossed hoping the borders get reopened soon so they are able to make sales from the little time remaining before they begin the next batch of tomato production.
Government has however remained silent over the situation, despite the Prime Minister’s directive on the issue.
This has further made matters worse for the tomato farmers.
Laurie Colwin, an author once said ” a world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violin”. This, in simple terms, tells us how important tomato is for the human race.
Being one of the most demanded fruits/vegetables in the market and a major dietary source, tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, K and folate as they aid in preventing different kinds of cancer, heart diseases and diabetes.
Beside its cancer-preventive power, it has other uses such as consumption, different times of treatments and lots more.
Mimi Mefo Info