From Rs 200 a kg last month, tomato price in Dharmapuri crashes to Rs 8
Stating that and price offered by traders is not enough to recover costs, farmers have appealed to the state to announce a minimum support price for tomatoes.
DHARMAPURI: Just a month ago, the retail price of tomatoes touched an unprecedented high of Rs 200 a kilo across the country. Encouraged by the returns, many farmers had taken up tomato cultivation in Dharmapuri district. But they are in the doldrums now as prices tanked.
According to sources, a crate of tomatoes (15 kg) is being sold at Rs 120-130. Stating that and price offered by traders is not enough to recover costs, farmers have appealed to the state to announce a minimum support price for tomatoes.
Speaking to TNIE, a farmer S Poonmani said, “Last month a kg of tomatoes was sold at Rs 200, it is a mere Rs 8. But input costs like fertilizer, labour and pesticides remain the same. A farmer has to spend around Rs 12,000 per acre or more for a successful harvest. So there is no benefit in cultivating tomatoes, many of my friends had advised me not to plant tomatoes this year. But as the monsoon was delayed this year, I took a gamble. To help farmers, the government must announce some policies.”
PG Ganeshan, a trader in the Palacode wholesale tomato market, said, “ As opposed to last month the production has increased. Last month we received just 5 or 6 tonnes per day, now we are getting over 20 tonnes. These tomatoes are purchased from the farmers for Rs 120 to Rs 130 per crate. Farmers will also be charged Rs 5 extra per crate for cleaning and transport. Over the past few months, many farmers told me that the quality of seeds and pesticides was poor. This coupled with erratic weather y impacted cultivation and many farmers did not cultivate tomatoes.”
P Rajan, a farmer, said, “Even in Uzhavar Sandhai, the price is Rs 8 to Rs 10 per kg.” The deputy director of the horticulture department Fathima could not be reached for comment. But officials in her office said, “The cultivation area has not reduced between April and June. Due to the price rise, the area has increased to more than 2,500 acres. The price fluctuation is seasonal and depends on demand and supply.” On the MSP demand, they said it was for the government to decide.