Tomato Price in India: It went up to Rs 224 per kg in several parts of the country recently.
In a huge relief for consumers, the union government today started selling tomatoes at Rs 90 per kg in Delhi-NCR, Lucknow, Patna, and other chosen big cities across the country, to combat soaring prices of the kitchen staple, which touched record highs recently. However, each person can buy only 2 kgs of tomato per head on subsidised rates. Freshly procured tomatoes arrived in the national capital overnight from mandis in key growing states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
The stocks of tomato will be distributed through retail outlets at "discounted prices" to the consumers in Delhi NCR region by Friday, this week, an official release said on Wednesday.
In Noida, tomatoes will be sold at the NCCF office at Rajnigandha Chowk and also through mobile vans in Greater Noida and other locations, officials said.
NCCF will start the sale in other cities such as Lucknow, Kanpur and Jaipur during the weekend, they added.
In Delhi, NCCF started the sale on Friday in all 11 districts through 20 mobile vans and five centres. About 17,000 kg of tomatoes will be sold in total on the first day, NCCF Chairman Vishal Singh told NDTV, clarifying that the subsidised rates will be capped at 2 kgs for every customer.
On Saturday, NCCF plans to sell about 20,000 kg of tomatoes and the quantity will be increased to 40,000 per day as the sale picks up.
The Centre had on Wednesday directed its agricultural marketing agencies -- National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) -- to start immediate procurement of tomatoes in order to provide relief to consumers who were forced to buy it for as high as Rs 150 to 160 per kg in the past month. It even went up to Rs 224 per kg in several parts of the country, a massive increase from the usual Rs 20-30 per kg rate.
NCCF Managing Director Anice Joseph Chandra has said, "We have fixed the price at Rs 90 per kg, while the procurement rate is Rs 120-130 per kg. The losses will be absorbed by the central government.
The government attributed the sharp rise in prices to the monsoon season, saying that it added to further challenges related to distribution and increased transit losses. Tomatoes have a relatively lower shelf life.
The periods during July-August and October-November are generally the lean production months for tomato.
The southern and western regions of India accounts for 56-58 per cent of total tomato production in the country.
"Southern and Western regions, being surplus states, feed to other markets depending on production seasons. The production seasons are also different across regions. The peak harvesting season occurs from December to February," the food ministry had said.
"The cycle of planting and harvesting seasons and variation across regions are primarily responsible for price seasonality in Tomato. Apart from the normal price seasonality, temporary supply chain disruptions and crop damage due to adverse weather conditions etc. often lead to sudden spikes in prices," it added.
According to the database maintained by the Price Monitoring Division under the Department of Consumer Affairs, per kilogram tomato on average rose by Rs 60-100 this month of what they were in retail markets in early June.
Data showed prices of tomatoes in Delhi going up exponentially from Rs 20 per kg in early June to Rs 110 last week. Similarly, in Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata, three key consuming regions, the prices per kilogram rose to Rs 117, Rs 100, and Rs 148.