Tomato price went up by around 300% in a year in Tamil Nadu 

As against its average retail price of ₹25.85 a kg in June last year, tomato was sold at ₹103.6 a kg as on July 5 this year. The price went up by 27% from June to July this year. Officials say it is only a matter of time before the price comes down

July 12, 2023 11:04 pm | Updated July 13, 2023 08:39 am IST - CHENNAI

Fall in production, unseasonal rain and change of crop due to unrewarding price are cited for the tomato price rise. File photo

Fall in production, unseasonal rain and change of crop due to unrewarding price are cited for the tomato price rise. File photo | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Tomato price went up by around 300% in the last one year in Tamil Nadu, topping the list of select essential commodities.

As against its average price of ₹25.85 a kg in the retail market in June last year, tomato was sold at ₹103.6 a kg as on July 5 this year. The price went up by 27% from June to July this year.

Dip in area

Several reasons — fall in production, unseasonal rain and change of crop due to unrewarding price — are cited for the situation.

According to the season and crop report of Tamil Nadu, the area under tomato went down from 44,918 hectares in 2020-21 to 41,455 hectares in 2021-22. Consequently, production declined from around 9.35 lakh tonnes to 8.15 lakh tonnes.

To contain the price, the State government has begun selling the vegetable through fair price shops and farm fresh outlets. In the last two days, 30 tonnes of tomato was sold at a subsidised rate through 302 fair price shops and 62 farm fresh outlets. On Wednesday, the quantity sold was 17 tonnes.

An official says many other shops, too, are informally selling tomatoes. In May last year too, there was a perceptible increase in the price of tomato, and it was brought under control through similar measures. Pointing out that the prices of vegetables generally go up during May-July every year, a senior policy-maker says the government is planning to boost vegetable production through a special drive to be launched by the Agriculture Department around January. “Our idea is to avoid next year what we are experiencing now,” says the official.

Request to the Centre

Separately, referring to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s request to Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal for 10,000 tonnes of tur dal a month, the officials say that if the request is approved, this will be in addition to what is being sold (20,000 tonnes a month to ration cardholders) through fair price shops.

Several other measures are being taken by tapping into the resources under the Price Stabilisation Fund to contain the prices of essential commodities, the officials add, expressing the hope that it is only a matter of time before the price of tomato comes down to its normal level.

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