The government today said retail prices of tomatoes are expected to fall with higher supply of new crops from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The retail prices have shot up to Rs 200-250 per kilogram in several parts of the country as supply chain got disrupted due to monsoon rains and other issues.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ashwini Kumar Choubey said, “Prices of tomato are expected to come down with the increase in arrival of new crop from Nashik, Naryangaon and Aurangabad belt in Maharashtra and also from Madhya Pradesh.” He said the “current increase in tomato prices may incentivise farmers to grow more tomato crop which is expected to stabilise the prices in coming months”.
Mr Choubey attributed the recent increase in prices to a combination of factors like “crop seasonality, white fly disease in Kolar (Karnataka), instantaneous arrival of monsoon rains in northern part of the country which adversely affected tomato crops in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and logistics disruptions in isolated areas due to heavy rains.”
In response to a question by independent member Kartikeya Sharma, the minister informed that the average daily retail price of tomato had crossed Rs 150 per kg in Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the week July 10-16.
As on July 18, the average retail price in Delhi declined to Rs 130 per kg and to Rs 127.70 per kg in Punjab.
In order to check prices of tomatoes and make them affordable, the government has started their procurement under Price Stabilisation Fund and is making them available at a highly subsidised rate to consumers.
The National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) are continuously procuring tomatoes from ‘mandis’ in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, and making them available at affordable prices in major consuming centres in Delhi-NCR, Bihar and Rajasthan, among other places.
Tomatoes were initially sold at a retail price of Rs 90 per kg which was reduced to Rs 80 per kg from July 16 and further cut to Rs 70 per kg from July 20.
Till July 18, a total of 391 tonnes of tomatoes had been procured for continuous retail disposal in major consumption centres for the benefit of consumers.
The Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DAFW) is implementing Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) to protect the growers of perishable agri-horticultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of a bumper crop during the peak arrival period when the prices tend to fall below economic levels and cost of production.
“Under the scheme, the loss on account of the fall in price is borne between the central government and state government on 50:50 basis.
“Since the inception of MIS till date, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has not received any proposal from state governments for market intervention to address distress sale of tomato,” the minister said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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