Chennai

Tomato prices sink to 3-year low

Many other vegetables are 20% cheaper than in previous years but sales remain dull at Koyambedu

It was only a few months ago that households in the city saw tomatoes as a precious commodity as prices escalated to ₹50 per kg. This winter, however, they have come down to ₹5 per kg at the Koyambedu wholesale market. However, sales remain dull.

Wholesale traders at Koyambedu note that the prices of both the locally grown variety and hybrid tomatoes have crashed to the lowest in three years.

Rise in arrivals

The wholesale market, which is a hub of perishable goods, is receiving double the usual number of lorry loads of tomatoes daily.

Copious rainfall and a bounteous harvest in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the reasons behind the sudden dip in prices.

Most vegetables are cheaper in winter. But this month, several vegetables are nearly 20% cheaper than previous years.

The exceptions are onions, carrots and drumsticks, said S. Chandran, president of Koyambedu Market Licensed Merchants Association. Every day, the Koyambedu market, from where produce is sourced by traders from as far as Arakonam and Tindivanam, receives nearly 550 lorry loads against its normal supply of 450 truck loads.

However, the drop in vegetable prices does not seem to have brought in more customers. P. Sugumar, joint secretary, Koyambedu Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers Merchants Welfare Association, said sales have been dull for the past week, probably due the ongoing holiday season.

The price of onions too has dropped slightly this month when compared to November. Vegetables like radish, snake gourd and cucumber cost below ₹10 per kg after many months. Carrots are priced at ₹60/kg and drumsticks cost ₹80/kg in the wholesale market due to poor yield, he said.

In retail market, vegetables are sold for at least ₹10 more per kg more to cover wastage and transportation costs. For instance, carrots cost ₹75 a kg in retail stores and drum sticks are among the costliest vegetables at ₹130/kg. Traders note that this trend in prices may continue for two more months. “We are expecting an increase in sales around Pongal,” said Mr. Sugumar.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 2:49:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/tomato-prices-sink-to-3-year-low/article22323778.ece

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