Tomato prices have doubled in the past week in most parts of the country to ₹80-120 per kg in the retail market, while wholesale prices have increased to ₹65-70 per kg from ₹30-35 per kg, following a sudden plunge in production.
The output nosedived due to multiple factors such as high heat, delayed rainfall and lack of interest among farmers to grow the crop as prices had crashed to ₹3-5 per kg in May.
Ashok Ganor, a tomato trader from Azadpur wholesale market in Delhi, said, “Tomato prices have doubled in the last two days. Supply of tomatoes from neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh has reduced. We are now getting tomatoes from Bangalore.”
Ganor further said, “The tomato plants that were on the ground have been damaged during the recent rainfall. Only the plants that grow vertically with the support of wires were saved.”
To reduce the losses caused by low prices, farmers had stopped taking care of the tomato fields. “Farmers did not spray pesticides or use fertilisers as the rates were not remunerative. This led to increased incidence of pest and disease and fall in production,” said Ajay Belhekar, a farmer from the Narayangaon belt of tomatoes from Maharashtra which is currently supplying to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Kolkata and has started getting enquiries from Delhi.
Since farmers could not recover the cost of harvesting and transporting tomatoes when prices crashed, they were forced to throw away their produce or remove the crop by driving tractors through the crop. “Prices were low till the first week of June. We can’t predict what the prices will be in the coming weeks. They can come down as harvest from many new pockets will begin soon. But if it rains heavily in Himachal Pradesh and other growing areas, then prices may remain firm,” said Ganor.
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