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Tomato Prices Reach Rs 100/Kg; Why Is It Rising? Explained

The prices of tomatoes have reached Rs 100 per kg and more in many major cities across the country, the vendors expect the price to go down once harvest starts in other places. The government officials confirm that this is only temporary while the opposition attacks Prime Minister for 'wrong policies'.

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Tomato prices soar
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The price of tomatoes has surged in the last few days and in some cities, the prices have shot up to Rs 100 per kg. Government officials and vendors expect the surge to drop when the tomato harvests start in different places. Opposition parties question the government for the price rise.

The rise in tomato prices is part of a seasonal phenomenon across the country especially in major cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. Reportedly, as per the government data, tomato production is estimated to fall slightly to 20.62 million tonnes in 2022-23 from 20.69 million tonnes in the previous year.

Why are tomato prices surging?

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The late onset of monsoon in the country and the cyclone Biparjoy affecting heavy rains in the north and west of India have affected tomato harvesting. According to them, tomato prices have increased four to five times due to heavy rainfall caused by cyclonic storm Biparjoy followed by the onset of monsoon season that has destroyed the produce of farmers.

A wholesaler of vegetables in Jaipur, Om Prakash told PTI that the produce of local farmers got destroyed due to the rains in the past days caused by Biparjoy cyclonic activity and it did not reach the local market.

He reportedly said, "The produce of the farmers around Jaipur used to come to the mandi for sale is not coming as it got destroyed in the rains. Most of the vegetables, including tomatoes, are coming from Bangalore, Nashik, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh."

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Due to the arrival of vegetables from outside the state, the price has increased, he said, adding that tomatoes from Bangalore and Nashik are reaching Rs 60-65 per kg wholesale. After adding one per cent mandi tax, six per cent commission, and wages, it costs about Rs 80-85 per kg. Tomatoes are being sold in the retail market at Rs 100-120 per kg.
   
Moolchand, a vegetable retailer reportedly said that the tomatoes he sold for Rs 20 to 25 per kg 15 days ago, have now reached Rs 100 to 120 per kg.

He also said that along with tomatoes, the prices of other vegetables also increased by two times. The sudden rise in the prices of vegetables has dwindled the kitchen budget of homemakers.

What is the government saying?

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told PTI, "It is a highly perishable commodity. Transportation gets affected in areas that received sudden rains. It is a temporary issue. Prices will cool down soon. It happens every year during this time."

Singh further stated that over the last five years, the prices have risen during this time and softened once the supply of the vegetable gets better. He mentioned that the prices of tomatoes in Delhi will go down once the supply from Himachal Pradesh starts coming in the next 10 days.

Reportedly, according to the data maintained by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the average price of tomato on an all-India basis is Rs 46 per kg on June 27. The modal price is Rs 50 per kg while the maximum price is Rs 122 per kg.

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However, according to the price prediction made based on artificial intelligence by the consumer affairs ministry, the prices of tomato are likely to remain lower in July, the Secretary said. 

What are the tomato prices across the country?

According to the reports, the retail price of tomatoes in the four major metros was - Delhi - Rs 60 per kg, Mumbai - Rs 42 per kg, Kolkata - Rs 75 per kg and Chennai - Rs 67 per kg.

Among other major cities, the prices stood at Rs 52 per kg in Bengaluru, Rs 80 per kg in Jammu, Rs 60 per kg in Lucknow, Rs 88 per kg in Shimla, Rs 100 per kg in Bhubaneshwar and Rs 99 per kg in Raipur.

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The maximum price of Rs 122 per kg has been reported from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Bellary (Karnataka), as per the department data.

In the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), tomato prices at Mother Dairy's Safal stores have doubled to nearly Rs 80 per kg in the last one week as supplies have been affected due to rains in key producing states.

Reportedly a Mother Dairy spokesperson said, "With the onset of monsoon, the tomato crop is currently going through a seasonal transition. Rainfall in areas such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have impacted the crop and also restricted its supply, resulting in a demand-supply gap."
   
Vegetable vendors in the national capital are selling tomatoes between Rs 80-120 per kg, depending on the location and quality.
"We were selling tomatoes at Rs 25-30 per kg around June 15. It started to increase gradually after that to Rs 40, then Rs 60 and now we are selling at Rs 80 per kg," Babloo, a vegetable vendor in Paschim Vihar, West Delhi told to the media.

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In the producing centre of Madanapalle (Andhra Pradesh), the average whole prices at present are ruling at Rs 5,600 per quintal and the rates are expected to come down to Rs 4,400 per quintal in July. Similarly, the average price of tomato is ruling at Rs 3,670 per quintal in Kolar (Karnataka) at present, and is likely to decline to Rs 2,700 per quintal in July, he added. 

Opposition questions tomato pricing

The Congress on Tuesday attacked the government over the rising prices of tomatoes, alleging that it was due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "wrong policies".

Vegetable vendors and wholesalers have blamed the rains for the disruption in tomato supply, leading to prices of the kitchen staple skyrocketing in retail markets of many cities.

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Tagging a media report on the rising prices of tomatoes, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter, "The prime minister had described Tomato, Onion and Potato as 'TOP' priority. But because of his wrong policies… first tomatoes get thrown on the road then sold for Rs 100 per kg!"

Mahila Congress chief Netta D'Souza said pulses disappeared, flour disappeared, oil disappeared, and vegetables also disappeared from the poor's plates.

"Modi ji, you talk big about the economy in foreign countries, but inflation is going out of your control. Nirmala ji, after onions, should we stop eating tomatoes too?" the Congress leader said.

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The spurt in prices of tomatoes is a temporary seasonal phenomenon and rates will cool down soon, a top government official said.

"It is a highly perishable commodity. Transportation gets affected in areas that received sudden rains. It is a temporary issue. Prices will cool down soon. It happens every year during this time," Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told PTI.

The Congress has been attacking the Centre over the prices of essential commodities and urging it to provide relief to the common people.

(With PTI inputs)

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