Centre invites ideas from public to curb tomato prices

Students, research scholars, teachers, industries, start-ups and professionals can take part in the contest; Govt. taking preventive measures to keep onion prices stable

June 30, 2023 10:03 pm | Updated July 01, 2023 09:21 am IST - New Delhi

The Centre has announced a ‘Tomato Grand Challenge Hackathon’ in New Delhi, requesting the public to suggest innovative ideas to reduce the tomato prices, surging over the past few weeks 

The Centre has announced a ‘Tomato Grand Challenge Hackathon’ in New Delhi, requesting the public to suggest innovative ideas to reduce the tomato prices, surging over the past few weeks  | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Centre on June 30 announced a ‘Tomato Grand Challenge Hackathon’ in New Delhi, requesting the public to suggest innovative ideas to reduce the tomato prices, surging over the past few weeks

A similar exercise was done when onion prices increased some time ago. Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said his Ministry had then received 13 ideas on adding value and controlling prices of onion.

Students, research scholars, teachers, industries, start-ups and professionals can participate in the new contest. Mr. Singh said the ideas could be on tomato value chain to ensure its availability to the consumers at affordable prices and help farmers get value for the produce. The hackathon has been formulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs in collaboration with Education Ministry’s Innovation Cell.

He said the tomato production seasons are different across regions. “The cycle of planting and harvesting seasons and the variation across regions are primarily responsible for price seasonality in tomato. Apart from the normal price seasonality, temporary supply chain disruptions and crop damage due to adverse weather conditions etc. often led to sudden spike in prices,” he added.

Incentive for onion farmers

Talking to reporters, Mr. Singh said to ensure that onion prices do not increase during the upcoming festival season and the winter, the Consumer Affairs Ministry had asked the Union Agriculture Ministry to give incentives to farmers to cultivate onion during the ongoing kharif season.

“The country’s onion production is estimated at 319 lakh tonne in 2023, slightly lower than 324 lakh tonne in the previous year,” Mr. Singh said. Adding that the Centre had procured three lakh tonne for buffer stock, he said: “The moment onion availability is ensured throughout the calendar year, prices will fall. These crops are seasonal and at some point, there will be a deficit. If you spread the production plus storage, the spike in prices can be avoided.”

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