Tomato prices fall sharply, onion also dips

The price data maintained by the ministry also showed a sharp increase in prices of tomato in the last one week. Photo: Reuters
Tomato prices declined by up to 71 per cent over the last four weeks on a sharp increase in arrivals following farmers’ attempts to harvest the half-ripened vegetable to cash in on the spurt.

The price of fresh tomato in the Mumbai wholesale markets slumped to Rs 22 a kg on Thursday from Rs 75 a kg a month ago. Prices fell by over 18 per cent in the Delhi wholesale mandi to trade at Rs 35 a kg from Rs 42.5 a kg on July 24.

Prices of tomato and onion and other green vegetables had spiked in the middle of July due to heavy rainfall.

“Farmers across the country have started harvesting the pre-matured crop. Tomato farmers have increased supply from Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat. Supply from Maharashtra has also started,” said Shri Ram Gadhave, president, Vegetables Grower Association of India.

Tomato prices had hit a record Rs 100 in retail markets, which prompted the government to call for a contingency plan. Farmers were asked to bring in their early harvested crop for better realisation.

Early this year, farmers dumped a huge quantity of tomato on roads and also left some of the crop unharvested as realisation dipped to Rs 1 a kg. Large farmers and stockists failed to store the commodity in cold storages, resulting in a shortage in July.

“Tomato supply has started coming in from all across the country. Farmers in Maharashtra have also reported a huge quantity of harvest of pre-matured crop,” said an official with the Agricultural Produce Markets Committee (APMC), Vashi, near Mumbai. Half-ripened tomato is being sold at Rs 20-22 a kg in wholesale markets.

The agriculture ministry projects India’s tomato output at 19.69 million tonnes in 2016-17 (July-June), up from 18.73 million tonnes in the previous year.

Onion traded at Rs 17 a kg in the Lasalgaon mandi on Thursday, a decline of 31 per cent from its recent peak of Rs 24.50 a kg on August 10. To prevent a further price rise, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had recommended a minimum export price and stock limits on onion.

India’s onion output is projected at 21.56 million tonnes in 2016-17, up from 20.93 million tonnes a year ago. 

Ajit Shah, president of the Horticulture Exporters Association, however, sees no major exports happening at the current price of onion.

According to the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation, India’s onion exports tripled to 3.49 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 1.11 million tonnes in the previous year.


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