Maharashtra: Tomato prices spike as supplies dry up

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Published: July 18, 2019 1:31:39 AM

Maharashtra has been receiving supplies for the past month from Gujarat and Karnataka. The situation is similar in other states as well, he said, adding Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have received heavy rains in the past few days, affecting the crop.

Maharashtra, Tomato prices hike, Tomato, prices hike, APMC, Nashik Agriculture Produce Market CommitteeTomatoes are cultivated by farmers in Narayangaon near Pune, Nashik, Beed and Pusegaon, among other areas. In Narayangaon alone, around 18,000 acre usually comes under tomato cultivation, resulting in a production of about 1,400 tonne a day.

Retail tomato prices in Maharashtra have risen to Rs 50-60 per kg due to short supplies in the market. Industry experts attribute the price spike to drought conditions in the state, highlighting farmers have not planted enough tomato due to lack of water. This has resulted in short supplies, a situation that is likely to continue for atleast a month,Vegetable Growers Association of India president Shriram Gadhave said.

“Prices have been rising for the last 15 to 20 days. This was expected because of a 25% drop in tomato plantation in the state,” he said, adding prices could rise further to Rs 70-80 per kg for the consumer.

Modal tomato prices in Nashik Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) touched Rs 2,000 per quintal with maximum prices at Rs 3,050 per quintal and minimum prices at Rs 1,000 per quintal while arrivals were barely 470 quintals.

Market committee officials attributed the drop in arrivals to lack of rain resulting in short supplies. Pimpalgaon Baswant — one of the biggest tomato trading markets — is expected to commence its tomato season from August 15.

Maharashtra has been receiving supplies for the past month from Gujarat and Karnataka. The situation is similar in other states as well, he said, adding Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have received heavy rains in the past few days, affecting the crop.

These states supply tomato to major markets in Delhi and therefore, the demand is likely to go up. Climate change for the past few seasons is affecting the health of the crop and productivity, he said.

From 12-15 tonne per hectare, productivity has gone down to 7-8 tonne per hectare, he said, adding the colour and size of the tomato as well had been hit. Gadhave’s organisation has been running the Narayangaon open tomato auction near Pune as an experiment to eliminate the middleman and help farmers get better prices for their produce. Over the years, the auction has attracted the attention of other states as a model. Narayangaon, which usually supplies to Jalgaon, Nagpur and other states, has now begun supplying to Pune and Mumbai markets and does business of around 20 truckloads.

Each truck carries around 16 tonne of tomato. Traders were coming from Nagpur, Beed and Jalna as well because of high demand, he said. Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Dhule Satara, Sangli and parts of Marathwada are the main tomato-growing areas of Maharashtra. Nashik is the main supplier of tomatoes to most parts of the country. Pimpalgaon supplies tomatoes to other markets like Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Haryana. It also exports tomatoes to countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Tomatoes are cultivated by farmers in Narayangaon near Pune, Nashik, Beed and Pusegaon, among other areas. In Narayangaon alone, around 18,000 acre usually comes under tomato cultivation, resulting in a production of about 1,400 tonne a day.

About 40,000 hectare comes under tomato plantation in Pimpalgaon. The season at Pimpalgaon will commence in August and continue till November-December.  Around 1.25 lakh hectare comes under tomato cultivation in Nashik district every year. The tomato season lasts from June to October every year.

In Nashik, another tomato-growing region, the season starts from August to September. Gadhave said the rabi planting would begin from October. Mumbai receives its quota of tomato from cultivated areas in Karnataka, as well as Satara, Sangli and Narayangaon. However, Traders blame the recent heavy rainfall in the state for a “shortage” of crop.

Traders at Vashi, one of the biggest wholesale markets in the state, said the recent heavy showers in Maharashtra had affected the flowering of crop and high prices are likely to persist for over a month.

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