I guess we have all heard of the tomato madness in town, sadly that’s the reality we have to face. With tomatoes being sold at one for a hundred naira, one can’t help but think of how tomato sellers fend for themselves and their families.
I recently had the opportunity to interview a tomato seller, Mrs Abiodun. She is a tomato seller at Adaranijo market, Pedro area of Lagos State. I will be the first to admit that being a journalist is not as easy as it seems, I honestly had my hopes high about interviewing a particular woman who is our regular customer however she was reluctant. She said she didn’t want me to take her pictures or record her voice. Luckily for me she wasn’t the only tomato seller in Lagos, so I had to go all the way to Pedro from Anthony.
Mrs Abiodun who was one of the main tomato sellers at the aforementioned market gave me accurate answers to all my questions and I was so excited about her willing to allow me interview her, although she doesn’t really like smiling. Please enjoy the interview:
Titideyeri: Please can you introduce yourself.
Tomato seller: My name is Mrs Abiodun.
Titideyeri: Have you heard about the tomatoes Ebola and is it the cause of the tomato scarcity?
Tomato seller: Yes I have heard. But it is not the tomato Ebola that is causing it. There is one insect that eats the farm product before it can germinate. You know when they grow the tomato it needs some rain before it can germinate, so when there is no rain you know there has not been enough rain this year. That is what is causing the insect to come out because there is not enough water for them to spread out. It is not Ebola that is causing it.
Titideyeri: Are you feeling the impact of this tomato scarcity?
Tomato seller: Yes, very well.
Titideyeri: Are your customers still coming to buy like before?
Tomato seller: There are buying, but not like before. We are selling the way we are buying unlike before when you buy a basket of tomatoes for three thousand naira you can see three thousand naira gain. But now we buy a basket of tomatoes for twenty thousand naira, before we can see gain of one thousand naira it is hard. We are selling at a loss.
Titideyeri: How has the current tomato scarcity affected your business, is it good or bad?
Tomato seller: It is very bad, because we have spent all our saving into this business. Because there is no way you will not spend extra money.
Titideyeri: How do you want the government to help everybody involved in the tomato business one way or another?
Tomato seller: They should give the farmers money and facilities, so that this kind of situation will not happen again.
Titideyeri: Do you do any other business apart from tomato selling?
Tomato seller: Yes, I do make hair for people.
Titideyeri: What do you think us as individuals can also do to help with this tomato scarcity?
Tomato seller: We should encourage ourselves in going for farming, because it is only in the North that they do farm tomatoes. The one we grow here in the south is not as good in the north, so we should encourage our students to know how they plant their tomatoes in the North. So they can bring it down here for we in South can also learn from them.
Titideyeri: Thank you so much ma, for your time.
Tomato seller: We thank God.
So there you have it, no one ever said a three minutes interview could be so enlightening. Please feel free to share your own views about the tomato crisis in the comments section.