If you like juicy tomatoes in your salad, be prepared to shell out more for them in Pune. Wholesale and retail prices of tomatoes have doubled in the last few weeks as arrivals have been hit in the city’s wholesale market.
On Friday, the average traded value of tomatoes in Pune’s Gultekdi market was Rs 2,500 per tonne, with 1,069 tonnes of the vegetable arriving in the market. The price of the vegetable exactly a month ago, on December 12, was less than half this amount. It was Rs 1,000 per tonne, when 1,656 tonnes of vegetable had arrived in the market.
Majority of the produce arriving in the markets now is the kharif tomato grown in parts of Pune, Sangli, Satara, and Nashik.
Vilas Bhujbal, president of the Trader and Commission Agents Association of Pune’s wholesale market, attributed the price rise to farmers destroying their crop, after struggling with very low prices for the most part of last year. Bhujbal said tomato prices will remain relatively high in the next two months as the new crop will not be ready.
Tomato prices had spiralled downward in 2018 after exports to Bangladesh and Pakistan all but stopped. While Bangladesh had imposed a 45 per cent import duty on Indian freight, road trade with Pakistan was stopped. Tomato growers, including those from Niphad taluka of Nashik, had taken to destroying their crop rather than selling them at dirt cheap rates.
Deepak Bhise, president of the Junnar Tomato Growers’ Association, sounded doubtful about the prospects of the crop this year. “Water levels in the dams are falling as the irrigation department has been releasing water from local dams for Ahmednagar and other areas,” he said.