Market equations have changed. No, we aren’t talking about stock or commodity markets where big bulls bet on millions, but the vegetable mandis where India’s ‘aam aadmi’ goes to buy essential food items to feed his hungry family.
In the changed market order, if you go for a barter trade, one kilo gram (kg) tomato would fetch you to at least 4 kg of potato, which will in turn give you five kg of onion or 500 grams of urad dal or, let’s say, 33 milligram of pure gold. That’s how the changing price equations work in India’s mandis after vegetable prices shot through the roof, thanks to delayed rains.
Tomato prices in most retail markets across the country have doubled to up to Rs 80 per kg in last 15 days due to sluggish supply owing to crop damage. Earlier this month, prices of tomato - a key kitchen vegetable - were ruling in the range of Rs 20-40 per kg, as per data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry. Among metros, Chennai recorded the highest price at Rs 80 per kg today compared with Rs 44 per kg on 1 June.
Similarly in Kolkata, the price is ruling at Rs 60 per kg today as against Rs 30 per kg earlier this month. In Mumbai, rates have risen to Rs 80 per kg from 38 per kg while in Delhi, prices have surged to Rs 100 per kg from Rs 25 per kg in the said period, the ministry data showed. "Tomato prices have increased in last 15 days in Delhi. There is no sufficient supply as the crop got damaged in Haryana and Punjab because of unseasonal rains," Azadpur Tomato Merchants Association President Ashok Kaushik said.
Due to rains, the crop in South India also got affected because of which prices have also risen there, he said, adding that even heat stress in north India has damaged the crop in some parts. Unlike potato and onion, there is short shelf life of tomato. The absence of adequate cold storage facilities in the supply chain has aggravated the problem. The country's tomato production is estimated at 18.28 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June) as against 16.38 million tonnes in the previous year.
Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Odisha are the major tomato growing states in the country.
With PTI inputs
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Updated Date: Jun 17, 2016 19:29:23 IST