Karnataka

Kolar farmers dump tomatoes on roads as prices crash

Sorry state: Dumping of tomatoes on the roadside has become a common sight in Kolar district.

Sorry state: Dumping of tomatoes on the roadside has become a common sight in Kolar district.  

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Crop fetches as low as ₹2 to ₹3 a kg in APMCs in Kolar dist.

Tomato farmers in several parts of Kolar are dumping their crop with prices crashing to as low as ₹2 to ₹3 a kg in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) in the district.

Many are facing ruin. “I had cultivated tomato on a two-acre plot and invested ₹2 lakh. Now, at the time of harvest, the rates have crashed,” said Nagarajappa, a farmer in Mallasandra, Kolar taluk. “I am going to suffer a loss of a minimum of ₹1.5 lakh,” he said.

Currently, tomatoes are being cultivated on an estimated 9,850 acres of land across Kolar district.

Most farmers are struggling to get the produce into the market, and they feel it is not worth the effort. “We are not even able to cover the cost of labour and transportation,” K.M. Nagaraj of Srinivasapur taluk said.

Varying prices

The lack of standardisation in prices is also cause for concern.

For instance, a 15 kg box fetched only ₹25 at Srinivasapur APMC yard on Saturday, which is less than ₹2 per kg. However, at Kolar APMC, the rates were marginally better: a 15 kg box was going for anywhere between ₹50 and ₹60 (about ₹4 per kg) on Saturday.

Only a month ago, tomatoes fetched on an average ₹150 to ₹200 for a 15 kg box, which is around ₹13 per kg. Farmers were relatively happy with this price.

“A farmer can reap profit only if they get at least ₹300 per 15 kg box. The government should come forward to provide relief to the farmers,” said P.R. Suryanarayan, president, Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha district unit, Kolar.

Price variations are forcing farmers to leave tomatoes to rot in the field. Dumping of tomato on the roadside has become a common scene in the district.

However, while there is a glut in the market as more farmers have taken up tomato cultivation, the slump in demand in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu is being seen as the main reason for the crash in price. Farmers in these two States have cultivated tomato on a large scale resulting in lesser demand for Kolar tomatoes, claimed farmers.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:24:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/as-prices-crash-farmers-leave-tomatoes-to-rot/article18348346.ece

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