“My tomato Jos eh,I just dey think about you, Omalicha nwa ……..” We grew up hearing the phrase “TOMATO JOS” in music, movies, jokes etc. It is commonly used by Igbo men to describe a very beautiful and attractive young woman. If a young lady hasn’t been called the lovey-dovey name “Tomato Jos”, by an “OMATA” or “Working class dude”, I would be surprised.
Nigeria is a big country with different zones known for some particular natural resources. From Oil, to coal, timber, iron, cocoa, groundnut, palm-oil etc. Jos, Plateau State was known for it’s food production. But most popular is the fresh Tomatoes, usually red, large, nutritious, flawless, very beautiful and affordable. It used to look like this.
Lately, I might not find it funny being described as Tomato Jos, if you mean I look like this.
Our Tomato Jos is no more what it used to be. If you have been to the market lately, you would realize this fact. You find unattractive bowls of tomatoes staring at you. Try pricing them and you would be in for a shocker. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t find our precious Tomato Jos, but can you afford it?
I was in Jos a few months back. I met some small scale farmers and heard their stories. They told me how their climate has changed, how much their harvest has been affected by the change in weather patterns and how they cannot feed their families. The drop in harvest is enormous. I remember a particular farmer, who told me he wasn’t farming this season. Reason being his land is very dry, it had not rained and he cannot afford a power generating set to pump water to his farm. So now, he helps builders carry blocks and cement (Labourer) to get paid. He uses the meager wage to buy food for his family (don’t mention school yet).
We all know it, we feel it, we hear it. Our climate has changed and everything is affected. Our livelihood is threatened. Our entire planet is threatened. Biodiversity, food, water, air,all of what nature has given us freely is under threat.
It might not be Tomate Jos, but be truthful, there is a food produce that you have noticed isn’t how it used to be. Shrinking in size, increasing in cost, becoming less tasty and nutritious, just not how you used to know it. Think about it.
Lets leave some Tomato Jos for our children to eat and describe. Don’t you want a cute guy to call your pretty daughter “Tomato Jos”? I sure do!!!
Be good to the environment.
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.