The Centre on Friday announced a “tomato grand challenge hackathon” in a bid to curb its soaring prices. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has invited students, research scholars, teachers, industries, start-ups and professionals to suggest innovative ideas to reduce prices of tomatoes.

Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said that a similar exercise had been done when the prices of onion had increased, reported The Hindu. Singh said that the ministry had received 13 ideas on how to control the prices of onion.

The prices of tomatoes have soared across the country since last week. In some cities, they are being sold for Rs 100 per kilogram. 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, data from the ministry showed.

Farmers had told The Indian Express that a shocking fall in wholesale prices of tomatoes in the last few months forced many farmers to abandon their produce which has now resulted in higher rates.

On Friday, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said that the cycle of planting and harvesting seasons and variation across regions are primarily responsible for the change in prices of Tomatoes.

“Apart from the normal price seasonality, temporary supply chain disruptions and crop damage due to adverse weather conditions etc. often led to sudden spikes in prices,” the ministry said.