Tomato prices soar to ₹120/kg from ₹20/kg last week

Retailers in the National Capital Region are baffled after seeing an extraordinary increase in tomato prices — a six-fold jump in six days. Even a major producing region like Karnataka has also seen a similar hike in prices.

“Six days ago, I was buying a box of tomatoes at INR 1,200 and today it is INR 2,600. So I bought only 5 kilograms of mandi,” said Jatan Ram, a greengrocer on the bank of Yamuna River in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

With prices soaring to INR 120/kg everywhere, he said “I’m not the only one selling at this price”, justifying the high selling price.

According to data from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the all-India benchmark price in retail markets jumped to $40/kg on June 25 from $20/kg on June 24, possibly the maximum rise in one day. Ministry data shows tomato price at ₹113/kg in Ernakulam (Kerala) and ₹99/kg in Etwah (Uttar Pradesh)

The irregular weather conditions have affected the production of tomatoes, causing a huge hike in prices in multiple districts of Bengaluru. Tomato prices have risen to about 80-100 rubles per kg over the past few days.

According to traders, a prolonged drought has infested whiteflies in parts of Kolar, a major producing area in Karnataka, which has reduced supplies of quality produce.

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Conditional prices touched $8,500 per quintal at the Binnymill fruit and vegetable market in Bengaluru on June 26 versus $2,700 per quintal on June 20. Prices of high-quality tomatoes commanded more than $6,670 per quintal on Monday.

According to an official of the Ministry of Agriculture, it is common for prices to rise during this period, especially due to the high temperatures and the delay in monsoons in many parts of the country.

The official added that prices could be strong for another month or so.

Tomato production in India was pegged at 20.62 million tonnes (metric tons) for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) versus 20.69 million tonnes a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s first estimate for horticultural crops released on June 26.