After soaring to Rs. 40 per kg, tomato prices plunge in wholesale markets

Just a couple of months ago, tomato prices had soared to Rs. 40-50 per kg in wholesale markets and Rs. 70- 80 per kg in retail markets in almost all parts of the country. Prices have now dropped down to Rs. 7-10 per kg in wholesale markets on huge supplies entering the markets almost the same time, top industry people said. Top officials of the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI) say that prices are likely to drop further below the Rs. 10 per kg levels for the next few months on ample supplies. The area under tomato has almost gone up three to four times since the previous season but the productivity has reduced by almost 50%, Shriram Gadhave, president, VGAI said. Officials of the Pimpalgaon Baswant Agriculture Produce Market Committee said that with the season in full swing, tomato arrivals were also booming. Gadhave pointed out that with vegetables and tomatoes arriving in other states as well, there is no demand for tomatoes from other states and therefore the supplies are aplenty in the state. This season, the area has gone up almost three times on good rains from around 2 lakh hectares in the state to 5-6 lakh hectares. Productivity, however, has declined to 12-15 tonnes per hectare from 20-25 tonnes per hectare because of the various reasons including the rain pattern, he said. Since the area has increased, the production has been compensated. However, farmers are at a loss and consumers are gainers, he said. The crop sown in July-August has come up for harvesting in September and with arrivals increasing in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, prices have fallen in almost all markets, he said. Tomato prices have reduced in other states as well in the North. Market observers say fall in tomato prices is a normal occurrence during the monsoon months, from June to September.