A kg of tomatoes now costs anything between Rs 80 and Rs 100 in the retail markets following a steep decline in its arrival at the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Pimpalgaon Baswant and Nashik. In May, the retail price of a kg of tomatoes in Nashik was Rs 20-25.
The Pimpalgaon APMC is the largest in Maharashtra in terms of trading of tomatoes. An APMC official said the current daily arrival of tomatoes in Nashik was 4,000 crates (20 kg per crate) and 129 in Pimpalgaon. Last month, the daily arrival of the produce was 25,000 crates and 250 crates a day in Nashik and Pimpalgaon, respectively.
Similarly, the intake of tomatoes in Pune’s Narayangaon APMC, the second largest wholesale market of tomatoes in Maharashtra, has reduced to 50% in the last few days. Sanjay Kale, president of the market, told TOI, “We are getting 40,000 crates of tomatoes a day as against an average of 80,000 to 1 lakh crates at this time of the year. The drop in supply has hit the demand-supply equation and the retail prices have exponentially gone up.”
Kale said, “The kitchen staple is now fetching record-breaking prices. One crate is being sold in the range of Rs 1,000-1400. We cannot rule out further escalation of prices in the coming days, as there is no new fresh cultivation in line.”
Dumped a month ago, tomatoes fetch Maha farmers ‘record prices’
On May 18, a section of tomato growers in rural Nashik had thrown huge amounts of the produce on roads after failing to sell the produce in the APMC. They were offered Rs 30 per crate. The farmers had refused to sell tomatoes at that rate on the ground that the production cost was much higher.
An APMC official in Nashik said a large section of the farmers had also destroyed their crops, apprehending that the produce would not fetch attractive prices. “As the average wholesale prices of tomatoes were between Rs 50 and Rs 60 a crate last month, the farmers could not meet even the transportation cost. Most of the tomato growers had uprooted the plantation at their farms. Besides, a section of farmers did not harvest the produce that got damaged due to heat,” the official said.
Besides, the unseasonal rain in April and May had damaged tomato crops to some extent. An APMC official said the average and maximum wholesale tomato prices were recorded at Rs 650 and Rs 1,350 per crate, respectively, in Nashik in the past two days, up from Rs 50 to Rs 100 last month. At present, the Pimpalgaon and Nashik APMCs are getting tomatoes particularly from Kalwan and Satana talukas of the district.
The demand for the produce is not only from the local markets pf Nashik, but also from cities such as Mumbai and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
The Pune market, on the other hand, is getting supply mainly from Ambegaon, Junnar, and Shirur tehsils. “We usually buy tomatoes in bulk from Marathwada and some districts of western Maharashtra. However, there is no supply from these regions since the past few weeks. As per our information, no fresh cultivation has happened due to the prolonged fall of tomato prices this year in Maharashta,” said Kale, the Narayangaon APMC chief.
Another official in the Narayangaon market said several tomato growers in Pune, Ahmednagar, and Solapur districts had to abandon their plantations due to a fall in prices in April and May. In Pune retail markets, quality tomatoes now cost between Rs 80 and Rs 120 per kg. “The rates vary in each retail market,” said Vinayak Shinde, a vendor at the retail market.
Vaman Tupe, head of the vegetable section at Pune’s Gultekdi Market Yard, said, “We are getting 1,200 to 1,500 quintals of tomatoes a day against an average of 2500 to 30,00 quintals during this time of the year. As a result, the rates have gone up to Rs 50-70 a kg in the wholesale market.”