BENGALURU: The humble tomato is now on par with the elitist petrol: both cost Rs 100. It is now a prized possession in every household, and being consumed judiciously. The price of tomatoes has been on the rise for the past few weeks, with one kilo now costing Rs 98-100 in the retail market, and Rs 93 in Hopcoms outlets.
It's the effect of the incessant November rain, say tomato farmers, traders and vendors. Farmers complain that standing crop has been damaged in most parts of the state.
The rain has also affected the quality of tomatoes. Homemakers, having bought the pricey vegetable, have to deal with worms, rotten inner layers and stench, and are forced to throw them out.
Hopcoms Procurement and Marketing Manager N Jayaprakash says prices are high because of the rain havoc. Tomatoes cost Rs 93 in Hopcoms outlets, but if rain continues, prices will continue to go north in the coming days.
However, in the retail market, prices are Rs 4-5 higher, depending on the location -- it costs Rs 100 in malls, and in some parts of Bengaluru, good quality tomatoes are sold at Rs 100 even on roadsides.
Same is the case with onions, which cost Rs 53 per kg, compared to Rs 26 three months ago, said Jayaprakash. He added that crops grown in poly houses are surviving and the quality is good, but crops grown in open fields have been unable to withstand the rain fury.
"The weekly budget is fluctuating because of rising prices of essential kitchen items. Not just tomatoes, all items cost more, making it difficult to cook a proper meal," said Sakshi K, a homemaker.
Muniraj, from APMC Market, Kolar, said prices drop when there is no rain, and the crop is good too. This time, crops were damaged in Tiptur, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapur and most parts of Karnataka. The crop survived only in parts of Kolar.
Hotel associations have been holding discussions to raise prices at restaurants due to the rise in cost of vegetables, pulses and LPG. After much deliberation, most of them hiked rates by 5-15 per cent.
Last year, before the first lockdown, cooking oil cost Rs 1,300 for 15 litres, and now costs over Rs 2,500. Same is the case with coffee powder. Most vegetables are not available because of the rain, so prices have increased, said Veerendra Kamat, Secretary, Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association.