Tomato crisis ends for buyers but begins for farmers

The price drops to ₹30 a kg giving relief to consumers; farmers rue drastic dip predicted ahead of khariff harvest

August 21, 2023 07:51 pm | Updated 07:51 pm IST - MADANAPALLE/CHITTOOR

A fresh batch of tomatoes that arrived at the Madanapalle market yard in Annamayya district on Monday.

A fresh batch of tomatoes that arrived at the Madanapalle market yard in Annamayya district on Monday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The sudden drop in the price of tomato to ₹30 a kg in the open market on Monday, from the sky-high price of ₹240 a kg last month, came a big breather to the consumers in the Rayalaseema region and the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Even though tomatoes were being sold at a considerably low price for two days, many households continue to shy away from buying the vegetable, unmindful of the dip in the prices.

Quality improves

Compared to recent weeks, the quality of tomatoes, even though of third-grade variety, has improved, and this is the stock that the vendors procure from outside the wholesale markets at lower prices.

The first-grade tomatoes were sold at ₹38 a kg, and the second-grade variety was available at ₹29 per kg at the Madanapalle market on Monday. However, the stock was not huge, with only 261 tonnes of tomatoes arriving at the market on the day. A big chunk of these stocks would be sent to other cities across the country.

However, it is the tomato growers who began the khariff harvest that are disheartened by the drop in the prices.

Only few benefitted from price hike

It is observed that between June and August first week, only 10% of the farmers could benefit from the high prices of tomatoes, while a majority of the farmers suffered crop damage due to adverse climatic conditions.

“Now, our fields are abuzz with harvest activities of the first batch of tomatoes and will pick up full swing by August end. Unfortunately, we foresee huge losses in the coming months. The price might even drop below ₹10 a kg,” observed Kumar, a farmer from Valmikipuram.

The farmers said that the tomato market in Madanapalle might start getting more than 800 tonnes a day from September first week.

Meanwhile, horticulture officials in Chittoor and Annamayya districts said that the prime reason for the sudden drop in tomato prices is a “good show” by farmers of Anantapur district and neighbouring Karnataka. The officials said that bumper yields have already started in Anantapur and Kalyanadurgam region, Kolar and Chintamani tomato belt in Karnataka. It has resulted in a drop in the export of tomatoes from Madanapalle to other states, the officials said.

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