CHITTOOR: Tomato farmers are in distress with the arrival of huge stocks from several parts of Chittoor and Annamayya districts and also from other areas, leading to slump in market prices. Even tomato exports from Punganur and Madanapalle wholesale markets to northern States have come down. The price of a 14 kg box of tomatoes has declined to Rs 230 in the first week of November from Rs 500 in October.
The two major tomato wholesale markets have been getting produce from Anantapur, Puttaparthi and also from Kolar, Chintamani and Srinivasapura of neighbouring Karnataka for the past few days, affecting the demand and supply chain. With the decline in prices, wholesale traders have started exporting the produce to Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
It may be noted here that farmers have cultivated tomato in more than 6,800 hectares. Madanapalle, Punganur, Palamaner, Kalikiri, Gurramkonda and Mulakalacheruvu markets have been getting 1,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes a day.
Normally, traders from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka used to visit the wholesale markets to place orders for imports. However, the scenario has changed now as traders started encouraging farmers to take up cultivation of tomatoes locally. Huge arrival of stocks coupled with no demand from other States, has crushed the fortunes of tomato growers.
The price of tomato in the retail market, however, remains firm and being quoted at Rs 15-20 a kg. “I cultivated tomato in my two acres of land and the crop is at harvesting stage. We will get support price only if a box of tomatoes is priced above Rs 300 in the wholesale market. If the price continues to fall in the next few days, tomato farmers in the region will incur huge losses,” rued K Sukumar Reddy of Palamaner.
Chittoor district collector M Hari Narayanan held a meeting with the managements of pulp units and marketing officials recently to ensure support price to tomato farmers for their produce. The horticulture department has been asked to collect the details of tomato crop and coordinate with the marketing department to supply stocks to pulp units, thus ensuring support price to farmers. With the intervention of the district administration, tomato farmers are hopeful that pulp units will procure their produce at a better price.