“As the production in major growing areas especially in Himachal Pradesh go up, we will see cooling down of prices,” according to a senior official from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
The harvest in Himachal Pradesh, which is the main source of tomatoes in the national capital region and other northern markets, is expected to jump from 2,000 MT in July to 30,000 MT in August, providing relief to consumers.
The production in other states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are also expected to rise significantly in August, September and October. It is expected to touch 9,56,000 MT in September and 13,33,000 MT in October.
Excessive rains and floods in northern and northwestern states in July inundated fields and damaged standing crops, affecting the supply of tomatoes pushing the retail prices beyond the ₹200 mark in Delhi market. The arrival in Himachal Pradesh in July was reduced to 1505 MT compared to 10875 MT in July 2022.
“There is an area damage of 7800 hectare out of the total sown area of 14500 hectare of kharif tomatoes in Himachal Pradesh resulting in reduced production,” the official said.According to a report by CRISIL, the cost of a vegetarian thali rose 28% month-on-month on account of high tomato prices. “Of the rise in the cost of a vegetarian thali, 25% can be attributed solely to the price of tomato, which rose 233% on-month to ₹110 per kg in July from ₹33 per kg in June,” the report said.To check the soaring prices of tomatoes, the central government had directed National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) to procure tomatoes from mandis in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and distribute them in major consumption centres where retail prices have recorded maximum increase.
However, with limited supply, the prices have gone up again after a brief respite.
Tomato is produced almost in all the states in India, though in varying quantities. Maximum production is in southern and western regions of India, contributing 56%-58% of all India production. 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.