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Tomatoes at Rs 1

Tomatoes at Rs 1.5/kg! Maharashtra farmers are abandoning their crop in the field

October 2, 2018

 

The prices of tomato have fallen to Rs 1.5 per kg in the wholesale markets of Nasik. Since last week, farmers have left the standing crop in fields since they can neither afford the harvesting costs nor the transportation costs.

 

Last week, some 2 lakh crates of tomato arrived at Pimpalgaon, one of the biggest tomato markets in Nashik region, and prices dropped to Rs 161 per crate. According to Dilip Bankar, chairman, Pimpalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee ( APMC), arrivals dropped from 2 lakh crates by about 50% on Monday.“With farmers refusing to harvest the crop it is left to rot in the fields and soon this will lead to a shortage,” Bankar said adding that then perhaps prices may go up. He expressed the fear that farmers will gradually stop bringing the crop to the markets. One crate contains 20 kg of tomato and one truckload has some 20 tonnes.

 

Bankar pointed out that the harvesting costs is up to Rs 15 per kg and Rs 20 per kg and farmers barely get anything. “Although some 50 trucks of tomatoes are exported to Bangladesh and Dubai on a daily basis, but this is also not bringing much returns,” he said.Market Committee officials of Pimpalgaon Baswant echoed the same sentiment pointing out that at this time usually arrivals peak at some 3 lakh crates but this has gone down as some of the crop has spoiled after being left in the field for too long.Farmers either ran tractors over the crop, stopped harvesting them or have just stopped bringing them to the market, officials pointed out. The maximum prices are in the range of Rs 280 for 290 crates while minimum prices are barely Rs 50 for 20 crates. Farmers could get anything from Rs 1.5 to Rs 2.5 per kg for their crop.Last week, angry tomato farmers from Narayangaon and adjacent tehsils unloaded 100 crates of their produce. Wholesalers and market committee officials said the low prices are because of a glut in the market caused by excess production. A 20-kg crate of tomato is currently being sold for just Rs 30-Rs 50 in the wholesale market. Farmers said this does not even cover their transportation cost.

 

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