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Andhra Pradesh: Tomato growers in no mood to supply stocks for ‘Rythu Bazaar’ sales

The tomato stocks that arrived at Madanapalle market yard in Annamayya district on Thursday.

The tomato stocks that arrived at Madanapalle market yard in Annamayya district on Thursday. | Photo Credit:

Tomato growers in Chittoor and Annamayya districts have shunned the proposal of the officials of the Department of Marketing to procure the stocks at ₹50 to ₹55 a kg, as their produce continues to command ₹70 a kg in the wholesale at Madanapalle tomato market, while the retail price at almost all the vegetable markets across the region continued at ₹100 a kg. 

However, the wholesale price has come down by ₹25 a kg compared to last week, thus bringing a breather to the consumer. 

Tomato prices have all of a sudden hit the century three weeks ago, from the ₹60 a kg tag for reasons attributed to a sharp decline in the arrival of stocks at Madanapalle market, followed by drastic shrinkage of the acreage by more than 80% post the COVID pandemic. The daily arrivals slumped to below 100 tonnes as against the regular arrival of over 1,200 tonnes till a few days ago. 

With such a situation prevailing, the tomato growers observed that the marketing officials had initiated parleys to procure stocks for sales in the Rythu Bazaars. “While the price stood at ₹90 plus a kg, we came forward to offer it at ₹70 a kg keeping in view the public convenience, but there was no response from the officials, who remained stubborn and offered ₹50-plus,” said a farmer at Valmikipuram mandal of Annamayya district.

Apprehension

There is also an apprehension among the growers about “delayed payments” and that it would be risky to supply the stocks to the government.

A general feeling among the consumers is that though they had expected the government’s intervention to initiate subsidised sales at Rythu Bazaars, there was no gesture from the officials, though the price tag had touched ₹120 a kg between May first week and May 20.

It is observed that under the economic impact of the COVID years, a large chunk of consumers across Rayalaseema districts, with Asia’s largest tomato production, was forced to find tamarind as a substitute. Several vegetable vendors and traders deplored that they too had suffered huge losses with the perished goods with a lukewarm response from the cash-starved consumers. 

Stock arrival

On Thursday, the arrival of stocks at Madanapalle market stood at 259 tonnes, as against less than 100 tonnes in the first week of May. This is perceived as a welcome sign to the consumers that the production has picked up in the region. Instead of second-grade tomatoes, consumers can get the first-grade variety for ₹100 a kg, helping them to sustain a longer shelf-life.

Assistant Director (Marketing - Chittoor) K. Indumathi said the officials had seriously tried to procure stocks for subsidised sales at Rythu Bazaar, but the tomato growers stuck to a higher price, as they too had suffered huge losses in recent years. “We are expecting the prices in the retail markets to come down further in the coming days. If the high-price situation continues, we have plans to procure the stocks from Maharashtra,” she said.

The official refuted the concern that the government would delay payments to the farmers. She said even in the previous years, the payment to the farmers was done within 24 hours of procurement.


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Printable version | Jun 10, 2022 10:00:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-tomato-growers-in-no-mood-to-supply-stocks-for-rythu-bazaar-sales/article65463486.ece