KURNOOL/ NELLORE / TIRUPATI: The skyrocketing of the tomato prices continued as the fruit was sold for Rs 130 per kg at retail stores, particularly in Yemmiganur, Adoni and Kurnool city, on Tuesday. Due to the shortage, consumers in the Rayalaseema districts continued to depend heavily on the produce from Madnapalle, Annamayya district and Chintamani in Karnataka.
In the recent past, the maximum price at which tomatoes were sold ranged between Rs 80 and Rs 90 per kg in the wholesale market at Pathikonda, one of the largest yards in the State where tomato trading takes place. In Kurnool, tomatoes are harvested between August and February. When the season began, the vegetable was sold at Rs 4 per kg in August at the Pathikonda wholesale market and now the price has shot up to Rs 80 in the rythu bazaar and touched Rs 130 in retail vegetable markets.Officials believe that the price rise may continue till July end and that it may even reach Rs 150 per kg.
Explaining the current scenario, officials said tomatoes are grown in approximately 15,000 hectares in the district. However, the yield has dropped by 60 per cent due to deficit rainfall.Pathikonda tomato wholesale market yard secretary Sreenivasulu told TNIE: “The market has not registered any arrival of the fruit after February 15 as the season ended. As a result, the district has been getting its tomatoes from Madnapalle and Chintamani.”
Assistant Director of Marketing (ADM) Satyanarayana said they have sent an indent to the government elaborating on the quantity of the produce required for the district. He added that the stock will arrive in a couple of days.“On a normal day, at least 7-10 tonnes of tomato are needed in each of the rythu bazaars. However, the demand has come down following the spiralling prices and only five tonnes of tomatoes are being sold at the C-Camp market in Kurnool, which is the largest rythu bazaar in the city,” the ADM noted. He added that customers who usually bought at least one kg of the vegetable were now preferring to buy just half a kg.
Cultivation area brought down due to low demand last year
Meanwhile, the prices of tomato crossed Rs 100 per kilo on Tuesday in Nellore, Chittoor and Tirupati districts. Observing the low demand in the same period last year, farmers had reduced the area of cultivation this year under in Madanapalle. Traders were expecting the soaring price of tomato might continue till the end of May this year. The price of tomato is likely to come down by the second week of June when more stock arrives at Madanapalle and Punganur markets. Farmers under these markets started cultivating the crop in March and expect the yield from June