Farmers and traders sold their tomato crop in a hurry to avoid its spoilage due to high moisture-led short shelf life. Rapidly deteriorating quality of the stored tomato has led to a dramatic price fall in Nashik, the largest supplier of this vegetable additive to Mumbai. Consequently, hybrid tomato prices in Mumbai’s wholesale mandi have declined by 25 per cent so far this month and trade currently at Rs 6 a kg now, from Rs 8 a kg earlier this month. Local variety of tomato, which is primarily used for juice and chutney making, quoted at Rs 2-3 a kg in both Nashik and Mumbai. Such a low price of tomato is set to hit farmers, who borrowed funds from local moneylenders at high interest rates, badly.
“This type of tomato is number 5 in trade parlance, implying the lowest quality. Such tomato cannot be stored for long. Hence, traders and stockists are required to sell their produce quickly before the quality deteriorates further. Deteriorating quality may fetch no value for such tomato. Export quality tomato, however, continues to fetch premiums over the local type,” said Mangesh Lahamge, proprietor, Ambica Vegetables & Fruits Company, a Nashik-based tomato supplier.
Fair average quality (FAQ) of tomato is selling currently at Rs 8-10 a kg in Nashik. The model price (average of high and low) of tomato in Mumbai APMC stands at Rs 6 a kg as of today.
Fall in tomato prices is largely driven by a sharp increase in arrivals in Mumbai and Nashik APMCs. Data compiled by government-owned National Horticulture Board (NHB) show that total arrivals of tomato more than doubled in November to 470 tonnes in Mumbai APMC yard on Tuesday compared to 208 tonnes earlier this month. Its arrival in the Kolkata mandi also jumped to 90 tonnes on Tuesday versus 75 tonnes earlier this month. But tomato prices in APMC Kolkata, however, jumped by a staggering 20 per cent in November to Rs 23.50 a kg on Tuesday.
By contrast, however, tomato in south Indian mandis has become costlier by up to 58 per cent in November. In Bengaluru and Chennai APMCs, tomato variety prices jumped 43 per cent and 58 per cent in November to close on Tuesday at Rs 10 and Rs 15 a kg, respectively.
- Tomato price hits the lowest of the season (Rs 2-3/kg) on Wednesday
- Huge jump in arrivals pulled down tomato prices in wholesale Nashik and Mumbai mandis
- Farmers cry foul; this may hit their income
- Tomato prices may rebound in the near future