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Karnataka: Tomato Prices Breach Rs 100

Farmers say that poor prices for the crop in January pushed many away from harvesting it in the summer.

Raghunath, a vegetable vendor, picks up produce from the Dasanapura APMC in Bengaluru

The price of tomatoes crossed Rs 100 in Karnataka due to deficient rains, hot summer and poor prices for the crop in January. Kolar, which accounts for the largest share in tomato production in Karnataka, saw retail prices in the range of Rs 110-125 on Monday.

The tomato market here is also said to be the second largest one in India. Tomatoes are taken from the mandis in Kolar to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among others. Traders in Bengaluru attempted to make the most of the situation by raising the prices above Rs 100 on Monday. However, they had to lower the prices on Tuesday to move their stocks.

Ram Mohan, 53, a tomato farmer from Tumkur, has sold his produce in the Dasanapura APMC in Bengaluru. He has seen a good crop this time, a yield of 3000 boxes/acre. To his fortune, the prices are also favourable. He spent Rs 4 lakh to grow tomatoes. However, his return on investment is in the range of Rs 2-3 lakh/acre.

Speaking to NewsClick, he said, “I own 20 acres of land and grew tomatoes on four acres. I got a yield of around 12,000 boxes (13 kg of produce/box) this time. In January, farmers were selling tomatoes for Rs 50/box. This time I got a rate of up to Rs 800/box. Many farmers decided against planting tomatoes because of the poor prices in January. This has resulted in a shortage of the product. The prices of seeds and fertilisers are high. Moreover, there is a shortage of farm labour. All these factors are causing difficulties for farmers.”


Sampath Kumar, a farmer who has now turned into a wholesaler in Bengaluru to pay off heavy loans

Kavita, 40, a wholesaler who sells her goods at the APMC yard in Yeshwanthpur, said that the retail price of tomatoes breached Rs 100 on Monday.

Speaking to Newsclick, she said, “The day before yesterday (June 24), I purchased 200 small boxes of tomatoes (13 kg of produce in each small box) for Rs 500/box. It was an investment of Rs 1 lakh. However, today (Monday), I paid the same amount for around 100 boxes. I was selling tomatoes for Rs 100/kg on Monday morning. By the afternoon, it was selling for Rs 70.”

Sampath Kumar, 56, is a wholesaler at the Yeshwanthpur APMC yard. He says he quit farming due to huge financial losses during the pandemic.

“There is nobody to work on the farms. Everybody is migrating to Bengaluru and other places. Four months back, onion prices crashed. The farmer is not getting even Rs 20/kg of onion now. I am also a farmer from Chikmagalur district. I lost Rs 2 lakh on my banana crop during the COVID-19 pandemic. I came to Bengaluru along with an associate three months ago. We have rented a godown for Rs 30,000/month. I am working as a wholesaler to pay back loans of Rs 2.5 lakh.”

Several customers baulked upon learning of the price of tomatoes. While some opportunistic traders in Bengaluru were selling it for Rs 100 on Monday, the price dropped to Rs 85/Kg on Tuesday despite the rate increase in the Dasanapura APMC.

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