Amid increasing tomato prices, Centre plans tomato procurement from growing states

12 July, 2023 | Aditi

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Central government has directed its agencies to immediately procure the staple vegetable from key growing states.

The Central Government has ordered the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF) to urgently procure the staple vegetable tomatoes from mandis in the important growing states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. This comes after a dramatic spike in tomato prices throughout the nation.

The increase in tomato prices is reportedly happening all around the country and not just in one place. It increased to as much as Rs. 150–160 per kilogram in a few cities. Once obtained, they will be sent out for simultaneous distribution in important consumption hubs where retail prices have seen the biggest increase in the last month.
The months of July-August and October-November are typically the slowest months for tomato production.

The stocks of tomatoes will be distributed through retail outlets at “discounted prices” to the consumers in Delhi NCR region by Friday, this week, said a food ministry release.

Though in various amounts, tomatoes are grown in all of India’s states. The southern and western parts of India produce the most amount of tomatoes, accounting for 56–58 per cent of the nation’s total output.

The monsoon season, according to the government, contributed to additional distribution issues and increased transit losses, which resulted in an increase in tomato prices.

“Prices are anticipated to cool down in the near future, accordingly,” the food ministry asserted.

According to a database by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Price Monitoring Division, the average price of a kilogram of tomatoes this month compared to what it was in retail marketplaces at the beginning of June increased by Rs 60 to Rs 100. According to data, the cost of tomatoes in Delhi increased last week from Rs 20 per kg in early June to Rs 110. Similar to this, they increased to Rs 117, Rs 100, and Rs 148 in Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata, three important consumer locations.

The tomato prices were in line with the increase in their wholesale market prices, which increased significantly on average in June, according to the data.

Analysts anticipate India’s June retail inflation statistics, which will be issued later today, will reflect rising tomato prices.