BHUBANESWAR: Everyone’s favourite red fleshy tomato is now out of reach of the middle class and poor as well. Even as the State got its share of rains, price of the vegetable continues to skyrocket.
Sources said, tomato is priced at `70 to `80 a kg in the open market which is almost three times the cost of the vegetable that was being sold at `25 a kg a month ago.
The unprecedented price rise has been attributed to supply crunch. While the Capital city requires 100 tonnes of tomato daily, it is now getting half of it. Apart from the locally grown crops, the State depends mostly on Karnataka for the vegetable.
According to traders, the red vegetable was priced at `100 a kilo at the Unit-IV market on Thursday. The price, however, came down to `70 on Friday though in some areas it is being sold at `80 a kg.Secretary of Byabasayee Mahasangha Sudhakar Panda said the price fluctuation in the market depends on the demand and supply. “The supply has been very less from the tomato producing States,” he said.
Blaming the State Government for the situation, he said, farmers in Keonjhar and Angul region were forced to sell tomatoes at throwaway price during summer. “The Government could have purchased the vegetable from the farmers at a reasonable price and stored it for the season. Unfortunately, despite repeated demands, it has failed to set up required number of cold storages,” he pointed out.
The traders alleged that the retail price is high compared to the wholesale price as the Government has failed to control it. The retail price is 20 to 30 per cent high than the wholesale price, Panda said claiming it should be 5 to 10 per cent depending on the commodity. “We are expecting a change in price after the arrival of fresh crop from Maharashtra and Hassan district of Karnataka in next 15 days,” he added.