In what is considered a major production glut, the prices of tomatoes have seen a steep decline across the country. This has been attributed to an oversupply in major production states – Karnataka, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Production of tomato has been high there. Supply has exceeded demand, causing prices to crash.
Karnataka’s prices took a beating with wholesale at Rs 5 and retail at Rs 9. Andhra Pradesh recorded retail prices of Rs 18 and wholesale prices at Rs 12. The price of tomatoes in Kerala, however, is hovering around Rs 10 – 15 in the wholesale market and Rs 38 in the retail market. Tamil Nadu wholesales at Rs 6 and retails at Rs. 16.
“This is the lowest prices we have seen in 10 years. It is not good at all because of the oversupply of tomatoes,” says Sounderrajan, Wholesaler’s Traders Association advisor of Chennai's Koyambedu Market. “There is a lack of cash flow in small businesses, which has reduced the income. Farmers are devastated at the price fall. It is them who are hit the most.”
A month ago, prices were at their highest. From a peak of Rs 50 a kg last month the purchase price slid to Rs 20 per kg and the farmers were being offered Rs 2 or Rs 3 per kg since the last two days by procurement agents.
It’s not just the tomato, other vegetable prices have also faced the same fate. According to The Times of India, the price of green peas fell from Rs 140 a kg last month to Rs 40-50 on Sunday. Price of chayote (chow chow) came down from Rs 30 to 15, beetroot price fell from Rs 25 to 12, green chilli price fell from Rs 70 to 30, and drumstick price fell from Rs 70 to 30.