But the consumers are yet to benefit from the price crash
Tomato growers are in dire straits in the State as prices of their produce crashed to as low as less than Re. 1 a kg in some parts of the State due to a glut in arrivals. While it was below Re. 1 a kg in Raichur, it slumped to below Rs. 2 in the State’s major tomato-growing belt of Kolar.
Frustrated tomato farmers threw their produce on the main streets of Raichur city and also dumped heaps of produce in front of the office of the deputy commissioner to protest against the failure of the government to take effective measures to stabilise prices.
They also distributed the produce free of cost to people as the price on offer was not enough to bear the transportation cost let alone production cost.
But the crash in prices was no good news for consumers as selling price of tomatoes remained unchanged, indicating that middlemen made the best of the situation.
While the HOPCOMs’ selling price for tomato stood at Rs. 8 a kg in Bangalore city, consumers had to pay Rs. 12 a kg in Kolar market. Contrary to this, the farmers were given only Rs. 20 to Rs. 50 per 15-kg box of local variety of tomato in the Kolar Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee yard.
The HOPCOMs’ officials feel that the price situation is unlikely to improve for the farmers at least for another 15 to 20 days.
Explaining the phenomenon of the price crash, head of the vegetables division of the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, A.T. Sadashiva, said the winter period was the most-ideal season for the fruit-setting in the tomato crop. “Normally, tomato farmers get highest yield in this season as the productivity is very high. This leads to glut in production and triggers crash in prices,” he said, while pointing out that such a situation is witnessed almost on a yearly basis.
Though winter has almost ended, the tomatoes which are presently arriving in the market are the ones planted during the winter season, he said.
Normally, tomato crop is grown on about 59,000 hectares of land in the State. Of this, Kolar district and surrounding areas account for about 17,000 hectares, Dr. Sadashiva said. The other prominent tomato-growing areas include the districts of Chickballapur, Bangalore Rural, Mandya and surrounding areas.
Of late, farmers have started growing tomato crop in a big way even in northern parts of the State, he said.
Tomato crop is grown on about 59,000 hectares of land in State
Kolar district and surrounding areas account for 17,000 hectares
Other tomato-growing areas: Chickballapur, Bangalore Rural, Mandya districts
Farmers get highest yield during winter season