Tomato farmers threw their product on the road near Pyapili vegetable market on Thursday. (Photo | Express)
Tomato farmers threw their product on the road near Pyapili vegetable market on Thursday. (Photo | Express)

Kurnool ryots in distress as tomato prices crash to Rs 3/kg

Price of the vegetable started to cool down as the produce began to arrive from Anantapur.

KURNOOL: Farmers in the Kurnool and Nandyal districts are a worried lot as the prices of tomatoes crashed to as low as Rs 3 per kg in major markets of Pathikonda and Pyapili in the Nandyal district due to bumper yield. In Pyapili, Dhone and Pathikonda, some farmers discarded the tomatoes on National Highway-44 near the vegetable market only to be eaten by cattle, while others did not harvest the crop.

When tomatoes were being sold at Rs 170 per kg in Madnapalle market and Rs 200 in retail markets over the last two months bringing in rich benefits to farmers, the crop was not ready in Kurnool district. The price of the vegetable started to cool down as the produce began to arrive from Anantapur.

Pathikonda Market Yard, the biggest in the State, received the season’s first yield of tomatoes on August 25. Eighty quintals of the kitchen essentials fetched an average of Rs 15 per kg. The highest price was Rs 30 per kg and lower quality tomatoes were sold at Rs 20. Over the next few days, arrivals at the market surged, leading to a crash in the prices.

Pathikonda market yard secretary Sreenivasulu said they received nearly 800 quintals of tomato on Thursday, with the prices ranging between Rs 1,200 to Rs 600 per quintal based on the quality. Interestingly, the prices dropped to Rs 3 per kg in a span of 24 hours as the lowest price on Wednesday was Rs 900 per quintal, he added.

Exports to Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Oridsha, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have also been hit with the local markets receiving high yields. “After transporting the produce to the market in rented vehicles, we are getting less than Rs 6 a kg. We can neither take them back nor sell them at such low prices. So, we are discarding the tomatoes on the roads,” Ramanjaneyulu, a farmer, told TNIE. Tomatoes were cultivated in 6,500 hectares this year, with each farmer investing Rs 30,000 per acre.

“This is not the first time farmers are facing such a situation,” Lakshmi Naveen Gupta of Gadderalla in Pathikonda rued. He added that the government is not coming to their rescue despite several protests. “The government has turned a blind eye to our requests for a juice centre,” he said.

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