As prices of tomatoes soared across the country, going above Rs 100 a kilogram in some cities, the Congress on Tuesday blamed the Centre for implementing faulty policies. Meanwhile, the government has said that the prices have gone up due to the delay in monsoon rains, and they will be brought down soon.
On Tuesday, the average price of tomatoes across the country was Rs 46.10 per kilogram – almost twice the rate of Rs 23.61 from a month ago, The Hindu reported, citing data from the Union consumer affairs ministry. The highest price of tomatoes was Rs 122 per kilogram.
In a tweet, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh pointed out that the prime minister had said that cultivation of tomato, onion and potato were his government’s “TOP priority”.
“But due to his flawed policies, tomatoes are first thrown on the streets and then sold for Rs 100 a kilo,” he said, in an apparent reference to multiple incidents of farmers dumping tomatoes on roads to protest low prices at wholesale markets.
Netta D’Souza, the chief of Congress’ women’s wing, tweeted: “Pulses, flour, oil, and now vegetables have disappeared from the plate of the poor. Modi ji, you make tall claims about the economy in foreign countries, but inflation is going out of your control.”
Sudden fall in prices, pest attacks reason for high rates, say farmers
Farmers told The Indian Express that a shocking fall in wholesale prices of tomato in the last few months forced many farmers to abandon their produce which has now resulted in higher rates.
The rabi crop of tomatoes, which hits the markets between March and August has a production cost of around Rs 12 per kilogram, said Deepak Bhise, the president of the Junnar Tomato Growers’ Association in Maharashtra.
However, in March and April, the wholesale price of the crop plummetted as low as Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kilogram and it fell further to Rs 2.5 per kilogram in May. “Farmers who had standing crops abandoned them, and those who were planning to plant a second crop in March did not do so,” Bhise told The Indian Express.