Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Alternatives To Fried Tomato Stew )

We do not usually talk recipe on this page but the ugly
situation in the tomato industry is bringing us to do
so.

Fresh tomatoes have become scarce and even more expensive than a litre of fuel
like some people would say.

Not just in Lagos but in all parts of the country. It is so bad that most traders
who trade on fresh tomatoes and pepper have moved to other businesses as their
suppliers cannot even get the produce in the first place.

A visit to the popular Mile 12 market located in the Ikosi-
Isheri Local Council
Development Area [LCDA] revealed that tomato scarcity
situation has gotten to unbelievable heights.

Four litre paint container of
tomato retails between N2,000.00 and N3,000.00
depending on your bargaining power and how fresh the
commodity is. About one month ago, the same quantity
sold for N400.

Small basket of fresh tomato, cost between N10,000.00 and
N12,000.00 while the big basket sell for N35,000.00 to
N38,000.00.

Previously, the big
basket sold for N10,000.00-
N15,000.00 while the small basket was retailed for
N3,000.00 to N4,000.00.

A basket of fresh chilli pepper cost about N15,000.00 as
against N5,000.00 while the not so fresh and in smaller
baskets retail for between N7,000.00 and N10,000.00
The scarcity of fresh tomato and pepper has been blamed
on a disease which botanical name is ‘Tuta Absoluta’ which
is currently ravaging tomato farms in the Northern part of
the country.

A specie of moth
attacks the leaves of these tomato plants. The larva produced by these pests feed
voraciously on tomato plants,
causing a yield loss of 100%.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had last
Tuesday said that the pest had invaded six states in Nigeria.

The Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh said that the report that
tomato processing factories had mopped up tomato fruits
in Nigeria was unfounded and untrue.

According to him, the highly reproductive nature of the tomato paste coupled with the favourable environment and
lack of management
knowledge for containment
resulted in its spread like a wild fire without any challenge.

This development had led to the destruction of tomato
fruits in Jigawa, Kano, Katsina,
Kaduna, Plateau and Lagos States.
Ogbeh, however, stated that the Federal Government had started consulting with States and experts in other to fashion
out measures to tackle the pest.

Proffering measures that could be used to check pests as well
as manage pesticides in Nigeria, CropLife International, a group of agro-professionals,
advocated the use of hazard based approach rather than a risk based methodology.

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir, El-Rufai said
recently that 80% of the tomato produced in the State had been ravaged by pest and
disease.

Unfortunately Nigerians depend so much on tomato
meals. As fresh tomato has been so scarce and expensive,
the demand for the triple paste has gone up forcing the price
to equally shoot up.

In the absence of tomato, is there nothing else we can use to complement our rice dishes
and some other foods.
I stayed many years in England
specifically the Metropolitan
London.

It afforded me the
opportunity to relate with people of different nationals
and I found out, that even among Africans that Nigerians are the ones that depend so
much on fried tomato stew.

I have some Kenyan and Ugandan friends who never knew what tomato stew is
until I invited them to my house for dinner. They eat a lot of rice meals ofcourse but with other sauces or stews like carrot stew etcetera.

Asians eat rice meals also, but with sauces like, ‘Curry’, ‘Stir
Fry’, etcetera. Rice is not popular among the English but
when they do, it is
accompanied with sauces like ‘Sweet and Sour’ sauce
etcetera.

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