Now, tomato prices hit roof; Govt banking on new crops

New Delhi :After onions and pulses, tomato prices have now hit the roof with the rates rising by 50 per cent in just about a month to Rs 62 a kg here, even as the government said a moderation was likely soon with new crops.

While the tomato prices have gone up in other parts of the country as well, the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement that a high-level meeting has been scheduled tomorrow to review the availability and prices of essential commodities and consider measures to be taken.

Tomato prices have increased to Rs 62 per kg in Delhi from Rs 41 per kg a month ago. Average prices of tomatoes across major cities have risen to Rs 50/kg from Rs 30 a month ago.

“Marginal increase in the prices of onions in the past week and in the prices of tomatoes is largely on account of disruption of supplies from southern States which have witnessed severe, unprecedented rainfall over the last one week.

“These increases are expected to be temporary and normal supplies should resume soon. The arrivals of the new crops of tomatoes are expected to ease prices”, an official statement said.
The Centre said it is closely monitoring the supply and prices of essential commodities in view of pressure on rates of essential food items due to supply-demand mismatch and adverse climatic conditions in last few days.

“There is a moderate increase in prices during September-December due to demand supply mismatch. The Government is working closely with State governments to ensure that quick action is taken to prevent any abnormal increase in prices and to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities”, the statement said.

The government said that onion prices have increased to Rs 37.52 per kg from Rs 36.82 a week ago. Similarly, tomatoes are being sold at Rs 43.18 per kg from Rs 35.23 a week ago.

Among pulses, arhar dal prices have risen to Rs 151.67 per kg from Rs 149.91 while urad dal rates have gone up to Rs 141.47/kg from Rs 137.06 a week ago, the statement said.

“A high-level meeting to review the prices of essential commodities and their availability and measures required to be taken is scheduled on November 18,” the statement said.

The meeting would review the de-hoarding operations on pulses and steps taken by States to improve their availability at reasonable prices. It would also review the progress in the procurement of lentils aimed at building a buffer stock.

Some traders at Azadpur Mandi also expressed hope that the wholesale prices of tomato will decline soon after supplies pick up.

“Tomato supplies have come down sharply in the last week or so due to vacation during the festive season and as a result prices have shot up in the market,” said Subhash Chuk, a tomato trader at Azadpur mandi.

Chuk said the high quality tomatoes in the wholesale market were today selling at Rs 20-25 per kg, less than yesterday’s price of Rs 30-35 per kg.

“In the coming days, prices are expected to come down as supplies have improved,” Chuk added.