New Delhi: The wholesale and retail prices of tomato, an essential kitchen staple, have seen a sharp increase this month due to an uptick in demand against a dip in supply and crop damage caused by the early arrival of monsoon.
The wholesale price of tomato at Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) has increased from Rs 4.8 per kg on 3 June to Rs 38-40/kg on 30 June. This, in turn, has further pushed the retail prices to Rs 60-70/kg across Delhi-NCR.
According to traders in both wholesale and retail markets in Delhi, the prices of tomatoes are likely to remain inflated for one month before it cools down, due to lack of supply against the demand.
Tomato wholesaler at Azadpur mandi Mintu Chauhan told ThePrint: “The prices of tomatoes across Delhi could further rise to Rs 70-80/kg for a month as the crop arrival from Himachal and Haryana has been hampered since last week.
“The early monsoon downpour in Himachal has destroyed a considerable amount of crop there while farmers in Haryana ploughed their tomato produce with tractor due to low prices of the produce and to proceed with kharif sowing,” he added.
“Normally 70-80 trucks loaded with tomatoes would arrive in mandis regularly, which has decreased to 25-30 trucks in the past few days. The new crop of Maharashtra and Karnataka will arrive in a month and then only the prices of tomatoes will cool down as now even in Bengaluru, tomato wholesale price is Rs 35-40/kg, which with a transportation cost of Rs 7-8/kg, will prove expensive in Delhi,” added Chauhan.
Supply has reduced
The supply of tomatoes at Azadpur mandi has declined drastically in the last week as compared to the same period last year.
According to official data, 173 tonnes of tomatoes had arrived at the mandi in Azadpur on 29 June, and on 26 June, 315 tonnes had arrived. But last year on 29 June, this figure was 434 tonnes.
Amit Kumar, a retail vegetable seller in Kishangarh, Delhi, told ThePrint, “Since the beginning of June, the fast-food joints and restaurants have started to open up, leading to an increase in demand. Due to this, the tomato produce, which often use to go to waste, is consumed in a day or two.
“The supply of tomatoes in both Azadpur and Ghazipur has remained more or less the same and this has led to a spike in prices of all perishable vegetables in the last few weeks,” added Kumar.
Prices have spiked in other states too
The price of tomatoes in wholesale as well as the retail markets has also increased in other markets across the country. Wholesale price of tomatoes has increased to Rs 40 per kg.
Pradeep Sonkar, a wholesale vegetable seller in Sealdah’s Koley market in Kolkata, told ThePrint: “Tomato prices have witnessed a major spike as the mandi rates of tomatoes have gone up from Rs 12/kg to Rs 30/kg from 3 June to 17 June and is now increased to Rs 40/kg in the last few days.”
“During the lockdown, big retailers, restaurants, catering were all closed, which first brought down the prices of the produce and thereafter the supply. However, the demand is growing slowly now, but the supply remains the same,” said Sonkar.
Tomato prices in Karnataka, which is a major producing state in the country, has also increased to Rs 32 per kg at Kanakapura wholesale market with a feeble arrival of just 3 tonnes a day since last week.
Similarly, at Vashi APMC in Navi Mumbai, the price of tomato has spiked from Rs 20 per kg to Rs 26 per kg.
ThePrint had earlier reported how the unlocking of the economy since 1 June, after over two months of nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, has had an unlikely fallout in the prices of common kitchen vegetables.
Wholesale prices of onion, tomato and potato had doubled in the major mandis across the country owing to an increase in the wholesale demand for vegetables.