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Tomato price up, buyer feels squeezed

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Dearer: The humble tomato has gone beyond the reach of many households.
Dearer: The humble tomato has gone beyond the reach of many households.

Staff Reporter

Heavy rain in Karnataka and Andhra cited as major factor

CHENNAI: The price of tomatoes (local variety) soared to an all-time high of Rs.40 a kg in the Koyambedu wholesale market on Tuesday.

Vendors at the market said hybrid variety tomatoes were slightly cheaper at Rs.35 a kg. As a result, the retail price of tomatoes went up to as much as Rs.60 a kg in many localities in the city.

Heavy rain in the areas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh from where the market received its major share of tomatoes was cited as the major factor behind the spiralling price. Only five per cent of the total arrival at the market was from Palani in the State.

M. Thiyagarajan, president of Chennai Koyambedu Periyar Market Tomato Vendors Association, said the price of tomatoes had been on a steady rise from Rs.20 last month. Moreover, the arrivals at the market have also declined. Only 350 tonnes were received in the market as against the city’s demand of 750-800 tonnes every day.

He pointed out that unlike the near stable price of onions and potatoes this year, the cost of tomatoes witnessed major swings over the past six months. It was sold at Rs.7-Rs.8 a kg six months ago owing to a glut in supply, he said.

Many other vegetables, including carrots (Rs.30 a kg), broad beans and beans (Rs.25 a kg) have also turned dearer in the wholesale market owing to poor arrivals.

The price of cabbage, which is normally in the range of Rs.4 to R.5, has doubled recently, said V. R. Soundararajan, member of Koyambedu Market Management Committee. The increase in the price of several vegetables in the past few days is keeping many buyers away from the market. R.Jamuna of Guindy said: “I have begun to buy less quantity of vegetables now as the weekly budget for vegetables has doubled.”

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