This image was taken in India and has circulated online since at least 2013

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An image of cattle eating from a mound of discarded tomatoes on the roadside is circulating on social media with claims that it shows wasted produce after Nigerian food traders blocked supplies from the country’s north to the south. But this is false: AFP Fact Check found that the photo has been circulating since at least 2013 and was taken in India.

“FINALLY THEIR WASTED AGRO PRODUCTS HAVE SEEN BUYERS,” this Facebook post reads. “COW WINS BIG IN THE LATEST NORTH VERSUS SOUTH FOOD BLOCKADE! (sic)”.

The post, which includes four similar versions of the same scene showing cows helping themselves to a mountain of tomatoes, has been shared more than 300 times since March 4, 2021.

A screenshot taken on March 5, 2021, showing the false Facebook post

One of the photos was also shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here and here.

Background to food blockade

Northern Nigeria is known for herding and commercial agriculture and produce grown here is supplied to the south. 

But in February 2021, cattle farmers and food traders restricted movement of their products to the south in protest against recent unrest in the region, including clashes at a local market in Oyo state and the violence that followed deadly anti-police brutality protests in Lagos last October.

Although the ban was lifted this week on March 3, 2021, numerous social media posts continue to circulate with the viral image and the claim that it shows how the disruption affected the supply of farm produce. 

Image online since at least 2013

The photo is unrelated to events in Nigeria.

AFP Fact Check ran a Google reverse image search and found that the image appears in numerous older posts from India, including the earliest version featuring in a 2013 report by Hindi online publication Bhopal Samachar.

A screenshot showing the 2013 publication on Bhopal Samachar’s website

The article describes the toils of Barwani farmers who struggled to offload their produce despite government intervention intended to help make agriculture profitable.

Barwani is a trade centre for agricultural produce and timber, and it is located in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.