Centre to buy tomatoes from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra to sell in northern cities

Southern and western regions contribute 56% to 58% of tomato production.  File

Southern and western regions contribute 56% to 58% of tomato production. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

After tomato prices rocketed to ₹200 per kg in some cities, the Centre decided on Wednesday to use its agencies to procure stocks from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and sell them at a discount in the areas where prices remained high.

Rains and floods in Himachal Pradesh have caused transportation disruptions, leading the prices to rise further in northern cities. Bathinda in Punjab recorded the highest price — ₹203 for a kilo of tomatoes — in the country on July 12. The national average price of the day was ₹111.71. Last year, on the same date, the price was ₹40.83.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs directed the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) to immediately procure tomatoes from markets in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra for distribution in major consumption centres where retail prices have recorded the biggest increase in the last one month. “The stocks of tomatoes will be distributed through retail outlets at discounted prices to the consumers in Delhi-NCR region by Friday,” a government release said.

According to data shared by the Ministry, Himachal Pradesh is the only State where tomatoes are harvested in July. The Ministry had said earlier that the increase in price is seasonal and would come down when stocks from Himachal Pradesh reached vegetable markets in the northern parts of the country. “The prices will stay high for the next 15-20 days. It will not go higher,” the official said.

The Ministry said targeted centres for release have been identified on the basis of absolute increase in retail prices over the past one month in centres where prices are above the all-India average. The Ministry said southern and western regions of the country contribute 56% to 58% of all Indian production. “Southern and western regions being surplus States, feed to other markets depending on production seasons,” the Ministry said. It added that supplies are coming mostly from Maharashtra’s Satara, Narayangaon and Nashik areas and stocks are expected to last till July end.

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