Cape Town. There is a shortage of tomatoes as a result of the heavy rains in January. Picture: Ian Landsberg/AfricanNews Agency (ANA)
Cape Town. There is a shortage of tomatoes as a result of the heavy rains in January. Picture: Ian Landsberg/AfricanNews Agency (ANA)

Tomato shortage: heavy rains wreak havoc on kitchen staple

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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DURBAN - TOMATO producer, ZZ2, has confirmed a shortage of the staple pantry fruit.

ZZ2 marketing manager, Clive Garrett, said this was due to the heavy rains experienced in the country recently.

In an interview with 702, Garrett explained that tomatoes needed a lot of water, however they did not like rain.

"In dry conditions, tomatoes flourish as long as you have enough water or water rivers or dams but when you have excessive rains like we've had in January and February, generally tomatoes don't thrive," he said.

Garrett added that when there is lots of rain, it brings on infestations of insects and damage to the plants and the fruit from the rain.

"We've already seen a slight improvement and as the weeks go on, probably in the next two to three weeks, the situation should return to normal. In January and February we had rain in those two months than we generally have in a year," he said.

He said all salad-type veggies have been hit hard as there have also been reports of a shortage of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and potatoes due to the excessive rain.

He said the shortages could lead to an increase in price.

"Our prices in South Africa are determined by demand and supply. Still, the majority of our products happen to land up on the national fresh produce market. I think the supermarkets take their leads from what happens on the national fresh produce market. It happens all over the world when there is a shortage of goods the price goes up," Garret said.

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