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No respite from soaring Tomato price across the country

Last Modified Monday, 31 July 2017 (12:01 IST)
Kolkata: - a red vegetable, beloved and vital kitchen ingredient in almost every household, has been short in supply across the country since first week of this month due to heavy monsoon rains that have damaged the crop. Tomatoes are one of the most popular and widely cultivated all over the world and their cultivation stretches from hectares of open fields to small kitchen gardens or in individual pots.

The variety in their use from fresh and raw to cooked and preserved makes this vegetable a favourite around the world which in turn makes them a commercially viable crop However, the price of tomato has shot up considerably in the past few weeks as heavy rains have damaged the crops leading to a shortage. Now the price of tomato per kilo is around Rs 100 across the country. Tomatoes are a staple in Indian cuisine, used as a base for cooking vegetables, curries and dal.
The rising cost makes a huge difference to family budgets and to the farmers who rely on steady sales for their income. Many restaurants have dropped tomato-based dishes from their menus, while the sale of processed tomato sauces and ketchup has seen a 40 per cent increase, according to Apex industry body ASSOCHAM. Tomatoes, which were selling for Rs 45 per kg in Kolkata markets last month, skyrocketed to Rs 100 - an all-time high in recent weeks. The consumers in Kolkata felt the pinch even as the government alleged that a section of traders hiked the prices, taking advantage of the floods.

Admitting that floods have affected the supply chain, state agriculture minister Purnendu Bose said some retailers were manipulating the prices. “The police and market monitoring committees appointed by the government are keeping a close watch. We will not hesitate to take action against hoarders,” said Mr Bose. The rates of tomatoes are expected to rise further for at least two weeks as the crop is not being received from many tomato growing places, a local trader in Kolkata said. (UNI)
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