ECONOMICS OF TOMATO POST-HARVEST LOSSES AT MARKET
ECONOMICS OF TOMATO POST-HARVEST LOSSES AT MARKET LEVEL IN
AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
Orebiyi J.S., G.N. Ben-Chendo, P. Effiong
Department of Agricultural Economics
Federal University of Technology Owerri
Imo State Nigeria
Email: [email protected]
This study examined the economics of tomato post-harvest losses at market level. With the
use of a well-structured questionnaire, a multi-stage sampling method was employed to select
131 tomato marketers covering six (6) markets in Akwa Ibom State. The data collected were
analysed using descriptive statistics, Pearson Product moment correlation, marketing margin
and Z-test. The results revealed that majority of the tomato traders were female (66.2%),
married (79%) and had secondary education (55.6%). 50.38% of the respondents have been
in the business for 7.2 years. The most common source of capital was credit sales (39.1%).
The result reveals that majority of the traders purchased tomatoes twice a week with an
average of 15-42 baskets per trip. Retailers experienced higher economic losses as compared
to wholesalers. The average marketing margin for wholesalers was N106.8/kg while retailers
recorded N98.45%. Test of the hypothesis showed that there was no significant relationship
between changes in tomato post-harvest properties and marketing margin. The computed
value (0.153) was greater than the calculated value (0.125). Based on the findings, the causes
of post-harvest tomato losses were attributed to delay in transportation, method of
transportation and poor market handling. The result of this study calls for the training of
retailers of tomatoes on proper management practices like the use of paper to cover the
produce instead of polythene.
Keywords: Postharvest, losses, Tomato, Marketing, wholesalers, retailers
It is a known fact that Nigeria is blessed with rich farmlands and subsequent bountiful
harvest. The country is one of the leading producers of vegetables that are grown in its
diverse agro-ecological zones which ranges from humid in the South to sub-humid in the
middle belt and semi-arid/arid in the North. Yet, produce are lost at an alarming rate of
between 30-50 percent yearly due to poor pre and post-harvest practices (Charles, 2009).
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a major vegetable crop that has achieved tremendous
popularity over the last century. In Nigeria, tomato is regarded as the most important
vegetable after onion and pepper (Fawusi, 1978).Seisuke and Neelima (2008) opined that
tomato is the world’s largest vegetable crop after potato and sweet potato but it tops the list of
canned vegetables. World tomato production as at 2001 was put at 105,000,000 metric tons
of fresh fruit from an estimated 3.9 million hectares (FAO 2005). In 2008, China had the
largest production capacity of fresh tomato in the World with an estimated 30,102,040 metric
tons, and Egypt was the largest producer in Africa with 9,204,097 metric tons capacity. With
this, Nigeria became the 13thlargest producer of tomato in the world and the second in Africa
after Egypt with an estimated 1,701,000 metric tons (FAO, 2010).
In Nigeria, Tomato is cultivated in most Northern States of the country, such as Jigawa,
Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Benue, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba. However, Kano leads
the pack in the commercial cultivation of this vegetable (Shankara et al., 2005). This is due to
the dry season cultivation of over 30,000 hectares of irrigated tomatoes in the Kano River
Irrigation Project (KRIP) covering Kura, Bankure and Garun Malam Local Government
Areas in the State.
Tomato, aside from being tasty, promotes healthy nutritional balance as it is a good source of
vitamins A and C (Ascorbic Acid which aids the healing of wound, strengthening of blood
vessel walls, etc.). One medium sized tomato provides 57% of the Recommended Daily
Allotment (RDA) of Vitamin C, 25% RDA of Vitamin A and 8% RDA of Iron, yet it has
only 35 calories (Joana, 2015). It is also an excellent source of Lycopene (a very powerful
antioxidant) that helps to prevent carcinogenic cell growth. It is considered as an important
cash and industrial crop in many parts of the world (Babalola et al., 2010). It is an important
condiment in most diets. It also contains a large quantity of water, calcium and Niacin all of
which are of great importance in the metabolic activities of man (Safdar etal., 2010). Tomato
is indeed, one of the most important vegetables in the world
The domestic consumption and demand for tomato is growing due to increase in the
awareness of its enormous benefits. Tomato may be eaten fresh as salad or they may be
pressed into pastes or purees, which are used for cooking in soups or stews and producing
fruit drinks. Moreover, it is available at low price as compared to other vegetables (Soe,
2003). Unfortunately, they are not only seasonal but highly perishable and deteriorate few
days after harvest, losing almost all their required quality attributes and sometime could
likely result to total waste since they have relatively poor storage capability.
In developing countries like Nigeria, post-harvest losses have been highlighted as one of the
determinants of food problem in most developing countries like Nigeria (Babalola etal.,
2008). Here, proper post-harvest storage, packaging, transport and handling technologies are
practically insufficient for perishable crops, thereby allowing for considerable loss of this
produce. Improper post-harvest sanitation, disease infestation and mechanical damages
during harvesting, bruises resulting from vibration by undulation and irregularities on the
road also enhance wastages (Idah et al., 2007). In the case of tomato, an alarming 45 percent
of tomatoes harvested in the country are lost due to poor Food Supply Chain (FSC)
management; price instability resulting from seasonal fluctuation in production, poor
packaging, long distance to market, poor storage and method of transportation. This loss
according to the Horticulture Transformation Tomato Value Chain Implementation Action
Plan (2012-2015) of the Federal Government comes to about 750,000 metric tons, amounting
to millions of Naira. This is despite the fact that the country has not been able to meet
domestic demand for tomatoes. In fact, between 2009 and 2010, Nigeria imported a total of
105,000 metric tons of tomato paste valued at over N1.6 Billion to bridge the deficit gap
between supply and demand in the country (Joana, 2015).
Post-harvest operation is considered as the stage of crop production immediately following
harvest. It includes storage, cleaning, packing, transportation and sorting (Mrema and Rolle,
2002). The most important goals of a good post-harvest operations are to keep the product
cool, thereby avoiding moisture loss and slowing down undesirable chemical changes and to
avoid physical damage such as bruising to delay spoilage. This in turn will help ensure
increased food security as food security goes beyond food production to include distribution
and marketing, adequate and stable supply, and accessibility to food.
According to FAO (2004), in developing countries, post-harvest losses of fruits and
vegetables are more serious than those in well developed countries. In most developing
countries, the number of scientists concerned with post-harvest handling research is
significantly lower than those involved in production research. The handling procedures used
in technologically advanced countries to reduce post-harvest losses are not fully recognised in
less developed countries. FAO (2004) further suggests that in developing countries, for
vegetables like tomato, storage, packaging, transporting and handling technologies are
inadequate, hence considerable amount of produce are lost. This has serious implication on
food security as it is bound to affect the affordability and availability of fresh produce to
consumers. Tyler and Gilman (1979) outlines the multiple effects of post-harvest losses as
going beyond the loss of the actual crop to include loss in the environment, resources, labour
needed to produce the crop and livelihood of the individuals involved in the production
Post-harvest losses of vegetables are however, difficult to measure. In one instance,
everything harvested by the farmer may end up being sold to consumers regardless of the
post-harvest properties, while in another; losses may be up to 100%. An estimate by Ministry
of Food and Civil Supplies, government of India, puts the total preventable post-harvest
losses of vegetable at 86% of the total production or about 20 metric tons, which is equivalent
to the total food produced in Australia annually (Kader, 2002).
Also, the marketing of tomato in Nigeria is affected by numerous problems in addition to
certain features of farming that together are unique to the industry (Ebong, 2000). These
include the seasonality of production, which subjects a country’s production to changes based
on irrigation facilities; the perishability of the product, which is very high; the bulkiness of
the product, which adds to transportation inconveniences, storage and labour cost; the quality
of the products such as colour, freshness, smell, etc. As a result of these special
characteristics, the post-harvest activities of tomatoes must be managed properly as crops
begin to deteriorate as soon as they are harvest. Usually, losses occur from poor packaging
during transportation and poor storage conditions in the markets. Due to the physiological
form of tomatoes, they deteriorate easily on transit and storage, especially under conditions of
high temperature and humidity and as a result, heavy losses occur in these vegetables (Idah
et. al., 2007). Their physiological form encourages increased pace of metabolic activities,
which is quickened by higher temperatures prevalent in tropical countries. Respiration brings
about loss of considerable quantity of the main nutritional ingredient- ascorbic acid in
Tomatoes. Mukaminega (2008) further suggests that losses of tomatoes also occur in transit
due to long distance to markets, poor and inadequate infrastructures, and the method of
Therefore, the study on the economics of tomato post-harvest losses is an attempt to quantify
the losses associated with the process of harvesting through distribution and marketing of the
produce (FAO, 2007). These losses can be caused by a wide variety of factors ranging from
growing condition to handling at retail level. These losses are clearly a waste of human effort,
farm inputs, livelihood, investments and scarce resources.
Specific objectives were:
(i) identify the sources of fresh tomatoes to the traders
(ii) estimate the magnitude of economic loss of fresh tomato
(iii) estimate the relative marketing margins of tomato wholesale and retail between the
Hypothesis of the study
The understated hypothesis was tested:
H01: There is no significant relationship between tomato post-harvest property (such as
colour, texture) and its marketing margin.
This study was conducted in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The state is made up of six
Agricultural Zones, viz: Oron, Abak, Ikot Ekpene, Etinan, Eket and Uyo. In this work multistage sampling technique was adopted. In the first stage, a simple random technique was used
to select three Agricultural Zones. In the second stage, two major markets were purposively
selected from each of the three agricultural zones based on the level of economic activities. In
the third stage, the population of tomato traders operating in each of the markets was
stratified into wholesalers and retailer. In the fourth stage, forty three wholesalers were
selected by proportionate sampling technique and 15 retailers were randomly selected from
the compiled list of retailers in each of the six markets. This gave a total of 133 respondents.
Data were collected from primary and secondary information sources. The primary data were
obtained with the aid of a well-structured questionnaire. Secondary information were from
relevant textbooks, journals, published and unpublished studies and internet. Descriptive
statistics and marketing margin were used to present and analyse the data generated for this
study. Descriptive statistics, marketing margin, Pearson Product Moment Correlation
Coefficient and Z-Test were used for the analysis.
Economic loss (%) =
TRSt1 = Total Revenue of Spoilt fruit at period t1
TRPt1 = Total Revenue of fruit Purchased at period t1
The value of spoiled tomato was obtained thus:
TRSt1 = Qt x Pt
TRSt1 = Total Revenue of spoilt tomatoes (N/Kg)
Qt = Quantity of spoilt tomatoes (kg)
(Baskets for wholesaler & paint for retailer)
Pt = Unit price of tomatoes (N)
MM (N) = SPt - PPf
This is expressed as a percentage:
SPt − PPf
MM = Marketing margin
SPt = Selling price by trader (N)
PPf = Purchasing price from farm gate (N)
Test of Hypothesis:
Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient
n∑XY – (∑X)(Y)
n√∑X2 – (X)2 . ∑Y2-(Y)2
Correlation coefficient of x and y
number of variables
the examined correlated variables.
changes in post-harvest properties (such as colour, firmness)
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Socio-economic characteristics of tomato traders.
Age: The results of this study shows that in all the 133 tomato traders interviewed, majority
were within the age range of 31-40 years as indicated by 53.45% for wholesalers and 47.78%
for retailers. This implies that active working age groups are into tomato marketing and the
people in this age bracket are likely to be more dynamic and willing to take risks associated
with the business of tomato marketing. Upton (1987) observed that age influences managerial
Gender: The analysis revealed that 53.49% of the wholesalers were female and 72.22% of
retailers were also female. Implying that female engaged more in tomato marketing than their
male counterpart. This result also conforms to FAO (1993) report that African women
dominate small-scale agricultural marketing but with less participation in wholesaling of
perishable items. Unfortunately, when post-harvest loss occurs, the livelihood of women is
Educational attainment: Majority of the respondents (74%) as shown in table 4.1 have
spent at least 7 – 12 years in school with a mean number of years spent in school being 9.2
years. This shows that tomato traders can at least read and write. This finding is in
agreements with that of Aighemi and Lyonga (1989) who revealed that, literate traders adopt
new marketing ideas faster than illiterate ones and would find it relatively easier in their
dealing with people, more especially, in the exchange process.
Marital status: Results of the survey from table 4.1 revealed that 83.72% of wholesalers and
76.67% of retailers were married, implying that they have dependants.
Marketing experience: As seen in table 4.1, the study revealed that 62.76% of the
wholesalers acquired 6-10 years marketing experience while 54.44% of retailers had only 1-5
years marketing experience. This suggests that more people tend to stay longer on tomato
wholesale business possibly due to the rewarding economic returns.
Household size: Averagely, the household size of respondent was 4.8 (approximately 5) and
majority had 1-5 dependants as shown by 60.5% for wholesalers and 58.9% for retailers. This
could suggest an advantage of family labour supply for tomato marketing activities, however,
large family size may increase consumption rate which can lead to decline in marketing
capital (Babalola and Agbola, 2008).
Table 1: Socioeconomic characteristic of tomato traders (n=133)
< 20 Years
> 50 Years
7 - 12
13 - 18
(No. of Persons)
Source: Field survey 2016
Sources of fresh tomatoes to the study area
Results of table 2 showed the distribution of tomato traders according to their sources of fresh
tomatoes. The analysis showed that tomato were sourced from four (4) major sources; Zaria,
Benue and Cameroon (AKS) and Cameroon (CRS). However, there were only three varieties
named after their sources, Zaria and Benue varieties came from Kaduna and Benue States
respectively. Cameroon (AKS & CRS) were exported into the country from the Republic of
Cameroon by the Cameroonian wholesalers. Two major terminals were identified, where
traders from the study area sourced the variety. These terminals are Ikom L.G.A in Cross
River State (hence the name, Cameroon CRS) and Oron L.G.A in Akwa Ibom State
(Cameroon AKS). Table 4 shows that majority of the respondents traded on Benue variety
(44.4%). On market basis, Benue variety was the most traded in all the markets except in
Mbakara Market were Cameroon (AKS) variety topped the trade as shown by 50%. The
reason for the high trade of Benue variety was because it was its season whereas Zaria and
Cameroon varieties were out of season, hence their scarcity. The demand for Cameroon
variety in spite of its low supply could be attributed to its tasty, fleshy and low rate of
perishability against other varieties.
Frequency distribution of tomato traders based on sources of fresh
Sources of fresh tomatoes
Source: Field survey 2016
Marketing Channels of fresh tomatoes to the traders in the study area.
This is theroute or marketing channels through which tomatoes pass from the producers or
farmers to the end users (consumers) in Akwa Ibom State. The analysis of tomato marketing
channel was intended to provide a systematic knowledge of how tomato flow from its place
of production to the final consumers in the study area. From this study, two (2) major
distribution channels were identified:
Farm gate Buy/Assembler
Consumer (applicable to Zaria and Benue varieties)
Farm gate Buy/Assembler
(applicable to Cameroon variety)
Each of the percentages show the amount of tomatoes(in %) marketed as they flow through
each of the channels from the producers to consumers (Figure 1).
Farm Gate Buyers/Assemblers
Marketing channels of tomatoes in Akwa Ibom State
Source: Field Survey 2016
Estimating the magnitude of economic loss of fresh tomatoes
Table 3 presents the magnitude of economic loss experienced by both the wholesalers and
retailers in the markets surveyed. It is obvious that retailers in Ator market witnessed the
highest degree of economic loss as shown by 42%, followed closely by retailers in Mbakara
market (39.2%). However, the least economic loss was incurred by wholesalers in Akpan
Andem market as shown by 27%. On the whole, it was clear that retailers bore the highest
percentage of economic loss in all the markets except in Fiong Etok market where
wholesalers’ economic loss was slightly higher (34.4%). It is also observed that on market
basis, Mbakara market had the highest combined economic loss as shown by 34.8% while
Itam market encountered the least (27.8%). This analysis suggests that the incidence of postharvest damage has greater economic losses on women as they are the major player in the
retail markets (FAO, 2003). This loss incurred by the retailers may be attributed to the long
distance to the market coupled with poor transportation network. This factors often lead to
delay in supply before the products get to the retailer as reported by Lee, etal. (2007).
Distribution of Economic losses associated with tomato marketing
Source: Field survey 2016
Marketing margin of tomato wholesalers and retailers.
The marketing margin for the wholesalers and retailers is summarised and presented in table
4. This table indicates that the wholesalers had a higher average marketing margin of
N106/kg while the marketing margin accrued to the retailers was N98.45/kg. This report is in
line with those of Obasi (2008) who reported a high gross margin for the wholesalers than
retailers in tomato marketing in Abia State. It is also observed from the table that at traders’
level, wholesalers generally had higher marketing margin than retailers except in Nka market
where retailers had higher marketing margin than the wholesalers. This may be due, mainly,
to lower prices of wholesalers in Nka market. At market level, Nka market shows the highest
marketing margin (N269/kg) followed by Mbakara (N255.5/kg) and least by Akpan Andem
Marketing margin of tomato wholesalers and retailers (n=133)
Source: Field survey 2016
Marketing Efficiency of tomato traders
A market that is efficient does not only bring sellers and buyers together, it enables
entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities to innovate and improve in response to the
demand and price changes (Fakayode, etal, 2010). Table 5 presents the marketing efficiency
of traders across the six (6) markets. It indicates that retailers had higher marketing efficiency
than wholesalers. Marketing efficiency for wholesalers was highest in Mbakara and lowest in
Akpan Andem markets. For the retailers, Nka market recorded the highest marketing
efficiency (110.5%) while Akpan Andem market also recorded the lowest marketing
efficiency (-23.4%). The very high marketing efficiency could be interpreted to mean an
efficient marketing system. However, according to Olukosi and Isitor (1990), market
efficiency is a function of both pricing and operational efficiency. This result could therefore
be interpreted as meaning high pricing efficiency in tomato marketing in the study area.
Efficiency as discussed earlier is a measure of market performance (Joana, 2015).
Distribution of marketing efficiency of tomato traders
Source: Field survey 2016
4.9.1 Test of hypothesis I
H01: There is no significant relationship between changes in tomato post-harvest property
(such as texture, colour) and its marketing margin
From the analysis presented in table 6, the calculated value of correlation coefficient (r.cal) is
0.125, while the corresponding critical value (r.crit) is 0.153. Since the calculated value is
less than the critical value, we accept the null hypothesis and reject the alternative hypothesis
which states that “there is significant relationship between post-harvest perishability of
tomato and its marketing margin. This result however, contrast with the report by Achoja and
Okoh (2013) who reported a significant relationship in the correlation between post-
harvest properties (perishability) and marketing efficiency.
Correlation between tomato post-harvest properties and its
Marketing Margin (Y)
Source: Field survey 2016
4.9.2 Test of hypothesis II
H02: There is no significant relationship between marketing margins of tomato wholesale
and retail in the study area.
From the result of the analysis presented in table 4.14, it is observed that the Z-critical
(1.959963985) is greater than the P-value (0.996536361). Since the P-value is less than the
critical value, we accept the null hypothesis which confirms that there is no significant
relationship between wholesalers’ marketing margin and retailer’s marketing margin across
Z-test of the marketing margin of wholesale and retail in the study
Wholesale marketing margin
Retail marketing margin
Source: Field survey 2016
Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, this research on post-harvest losses of tomato marketers reveal that postharvest losses have negative impacts on both traders and consumers alike. It is critical
therefore to minimise post-harvest vegetable losses in any way possible so as to increase the
availability and affordability of quality tomato. Solving the problem of post-harvest losses
will require cooperation and effective communication among the researchers, marketers and
farmers. Also, overcoming the socioeconomic constraint is essential to achieving the goal of
reducing post-harvest tomato losses.
In line with the findings of this study and the need to make quality tomatoes available and
affordable to the populace, and to enhance income of farmers and traders as well as give
value to the consumer, the following recommendation are made:
There is an urgent need for the improvement of the transportation system so as to
facilitate the movement of products from farm gate to market and then to consumer in
such a way that will preserve the life span of tomatoes. Hence, existing feeder road
should be renovated and new ones constructed.
Advocacy programme should be introduced by government and policy makers to
educate the marketers on the appropriate handling technique which will help to reduce
The result of this study calls for the training of retailers of tomatoes on proper
management practices like the use of paper to cover the produce instead of polythene.
Finally, household size, purchase price, quantity purchased and selling price ran
through all the three regressions as determinants of marketing profit. The effects of
these variables on marketing profit could raise public concern since they have
implications on prices received by tomato producers and those paid by final
consumers and therefore there is the need for the government to devise policies aimed
at stabilizing the local currency.
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