Tomato Trouble: Why Tomato Prices Are Rising And Can We Expect A Price Ease Soon?

Tomato prices have seen a significant jump, reaching close to Rs 155/kg to Rs 200/Kg in major cities
Tomato prices soar
Tomato prices soar

“Tomatoes are more expensive than petrol. Rs 200 for 1 kg of tomato.”

“McDonald’s drop tomatoes from its dishes because of high price and quality”

“Tomatoes to affect inflation in India worries RBI”

Tomatoes are an important part of the Indian household, king of the Indian kitchen, and when their prices are skyrocketing, it disturbs the monthly budget of every Indian family. Above are the few headlines that have really affected every single household in India and are defiantly threatening the Indian economy section.  In recent weeks the prices of tomatoes have surged up to Rs 150 to Rs 200 per kilogram in the retail markets and experts don’t see a sign of ease in pricing. The exorbitant rate of tomatoes is attributed to a combination of environmental, logistical, and market factors.

While the tomato surge, consumers are waiting for the price to come down. However, multiple factors impact tomato prices. 

Production Of Tomatoes In India

India grows two crops of tomatoes, Rabi crop, is grown in Junnar Taluka of Maharashtra and parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The supply of Rabi crops comes into the market between March and August. The second is the Kharif crop, which is grown in UP and Nashik and comes into the market during the rest of the year. These places are the major suppliers of tomatoes in the country. 

What Went Wrong This Year?

The responsibility will lie in various factors, including monsoons, inadequate production, and extreme heat. The first batch is planted in the month of January-March, which results in the first batch of produce during April-June. The Rabi crop fetches better returns for farmers too. However, the harvest was affected this year by the sudden heat, as it led to pest attacks on tomato crops, resulting in lower produce and higher market rates. The leaf viruses led to such havoc in Karnataka and Maharashtra that the local Agriculture produce market Committee which received nearly 5.50 lakh quintals of tomatoes in June last year has got just 3.2 lakh quintals this year. 

Then comes the unseasonal rainfall in May, the supply of tomatoes has been disrupted in the past weeks from the producing states, where the harvesting and transportation process have been adversely affected. These circumstances have had a notable impact on the availability of tomatoes. 

What About The Other Vegetables?

Well, the tomatoes surge is doing the tango in the pockets of every household but to get the facts right, the rest of the vegetables have also seen a slight price rise in some states, like cauliflower, potatoes, onions, cabbage, chilies and ladyfingers. The reason for tomatoes to be the talk of the town could be because their production is limited to certain parts of the country, thereby adding to the transportation charges, as well as their lower shelf life which leads to the difficulty of storage. 

Any Chances For Prices To Come Down?

The tomato surge will come down only when the Kharif tomato will be pushed into the market, of which the transplantation has begun after the arrival of the monsoon. Hence, you can say that only after mid-August the fresh produce will be pushed into the market, which will cool down the retail prices. 

Meanwhile, the government recently stated that the current surge is due to a seasonal phenomenon and that prices are likely to decrease within the next 15 days and normalize within a month. 

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