Tomato traders in various markets in Kenya will now receive 24/7 police protection as the cost of the fruit-cum-vegetable hits an all time high of KShs 25 per piece, from the usual price of KShs 2.
So high is the price that it matches that of apples, the most luxurious fruit in the tropical Africa, prompting the government to swing into action and gazette the protection of this national treasure. Among the measures the government is taking include giving police protection to anybody handling tomatoes all over the country.
Speaking during a routine inspection in a Nairobi market, the Inspector General of Police said that traders dealing with the commodity were now facing serious security concerns as they were carrying high value commodity, necessitating an enhanced security.
The new force formed to protect tomato traders is codenamed ‘The Red Marbles,’ and is expected to extend its services to anybody who buys more than three tomatoes. Tomato farmers all over Kenya are already under the protection of the military while any home that still uses tomatoes in its menu has been upgraded to the upper middle-class category.
The Kenya Revenue Authority has also proposed a new tax on tomatoes, in an attempt to cash in on the red gold. KRA commissioner in charge of domestic revenue said that by introducing a 16% VAT on tomatoes, they are going to raise 40% of all the total budget and reduce the deficit to 50%. At the moment, the Budget deficit now stands at 130% of all the budget.