With prices falling as low as 30 paise per kilo in December, the government had briefly participated in auctions to stabilise the prices.

Tomatoes scattered on the road in protest of low prices in Kurnool
news Agriculture Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 15:32

In an effort to support tomato farmers suffering from steep price fluctuations, Andhra Pradesh's agricultural marketing department has announced that it will bid for and purchase tomatoes from Friday. "The marketing department will aggressively participate in bidding and purchase tomatoes from Friday," said Marketing Department Commissioner PS Pradyumna. By participating in the bidding, the department aims to create competition for the prices to improve. 

"The department of agricultural marketing is continuously monitoring the prices of agricultural commodities through the CM APP on a daily basis," said Pradyumna. 

On Friday, the government will purchase tomatoes from villages in Devanakonda mandal in Kurnool district. According to Pathikonda Agricultural Market Committee Supervisor Srinivasulu, the prices per kilo have remained low since December, fluctuating upward to about Rs 4-7 before falling down to Rs 1 or 2 again.

Earlier in December, tomato prices in Kurnool district had dropped as low as 30 paise per kilo. At the time, Pradyumna said that the marketing department had participated in the bidding and auction of the kitchen staple. 

“When the Village Agriculture Assistant reported a fall in tomato prices in CM APP, the marketing department intervened and purchased about 24 tons of tomato by participating in bidding from December 21 to 28,” he said in a statement. 

However, when the prices stabilised, the department ceased the intervention, he said. With the prices falling abysmally low again in several places, the intervention will be resumed from Friday. 

Andhra Pradesh is a major producer of tomatoes. The Madanapalle region is said to be the largest tomato growing belt in Asia, and the Madanapalle market is Asia’s largest tomato market yard. However, farmer groups say that the drop in tomato prices is a recurring seasonal trend in the state, at times when there is a spurt of production and supply. 

Several times in the past and in recent times, tomato farmers in the state have resorted to dumping their produce by the roadside when prices have plummeted so low that they could not even recover their input costs. The Pathikonda market yard in Kurnool, which is the second-largest tomato market in the state after Madanapalle, has seen recurring instances of farmers being forced to dump their entire produce in protest of steeply low prices, seeking government intervention. 

With IANS inputs

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