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Heatwave pushes tomato prices to Rs 100/kg in southern states

The extended summer heatwave is mostly to blame for the price increase, as it has drastically lowered tomato supply. Retail prices for tomatoes in Mumbai and the surrounding metropolitan area have surged to Rs 90-100/kg due to this lack of supply, while online platforms are charging between Rs 90-95/kg.

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- June 22nd 2024 03:43 PM
Heatwave pushes tomato prices to Rs 100/kg in southern states

Heatwave pushes tomato prices to Rs 100/kg in southern states

PTC News Desk: Once again, tomato prices are through the roof; in places like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra, they are between Rs 90 and Rs 100/kg. Tomatoes in Mumbai cost between Rs 80 and Rs 100 per kg.

The monsoon months usually bring with them an increase in vegetable costs. This rise is mostly caused by the extreme heat, even if the monsoon phenomena also plays a role. Every year during the monsoon season, vegetable prices increase as a result of the effects of rainfall on crops.

Rain has an impact on all aspects of harvesting, including plucking and packing. Rain also contributes to increased vegetable waste during transportation.

But this year, the intense summer heat is the main cause of the price increase. Farmers, particularly those in Maharashtra, greatly increased the size of their plantations in light of the price increase from the previous year.

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Tomato grower Ishwar Gaikar, of Junnar, Maharashtra, told CNBC-TV18, "Farmers in our area increased tomato plantations by four times this year. Although the high prices of the previous year gave us hope, the intense summer heat decreased our average productivity."

The typical summer crop tomato production in the Junnar district of Maharashtra is 2,000 cartons per acre, with each carton having 20 kg of tomatoes. The tomatoes are sown in March and April and harvested in June. However, this year's extreme heat only produced 500–600 cartons per acre. There have been reports of similar circumstances in other Maharashtra tomato-producing districts.

Prices have increased as a result of this supply shortfall. While tomatoes are being sold for Rs 90-95/kg on internet sites, retail prices in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region have skyrocketed to Rs 90-100/kg.

Given the likelihood of tomato plantation damage due to the delayed monsoon, the situation is unlikely to improve very soon. Summer tomato crops typically meet demand until June or July, at which point monsoon crops take over until the next harvest. Tomato planting, however, has been delayed this year due to insufficient precipitation and a delayed monsoon.

Maharashtra farmer activist Bharat Digole told CNBC-TV18 that the seeding of kharif crops—including tomatoes, which are typically sown at the beginning of the monsoon—was delayed due to insufficient rainfall. Harvesting will be impacted by this delay, and the supply chain will be upset."

In addition, the cost of other veggies including potatoes, onions, and green leafy vegetables has gone up due to the extreme heat.

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- With inputs from agencies

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