Tomatoes selling at Rs 100/kg in Delhi; no respite in next few weeks

A strike called by various associations of the Azadpur mandi on Friday may lead to a further spike in prices.The price of tomatoes in Delhi’s retail market has skyrocketed to Rs 100 per kg.

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NEW DELHI: Whether it is tomato soup that you love or creamy butter chicken, be prepared to have your pockets lightened considerably. The price of tomatoes in Delhi’s retail market has skyrocketed to Rs 100 per kg and there is no respite expected for at least another two weeks.

A strike called by various associations of the Azadpur mandi on Friday may lead to a further spike in prices. Tomato vendors at the mandi have been sitting on protest against unauthorised occupation of their sheds for the past five days and are demanding the sacking of the agricultural produce marketing committee’s secretary.

“There is a massive shortage of tomatoes in the country due to heavy rain in several areas. On Monday , the Azadpur market received about 20% of its daily demand with a little less than 200 tonnes arriving from Himachal Pradesh. We don’t see the situation improving in the near future,” said Anil Malhotra, general secretary of Azadpur vegetable traders’ body.

Another member of the association said about 20% of the reduced supply of the vegetable was rotten. The tomato supply start ed falling about a month back, a trader told TOI.

“Tomatoes rot in the rainy weather, so the reduction in supply is nothing new.However, last year Himachal growers did not get the desired price for their produce and hence sowed less crop this time.They grew about 40% of what they grew last year. Production also fell in Bangalore. At present, Delhi is only getting tomatoes from Himachal,” he said.

 Across the city , buyers started to panic as the price of tomatoes zoomed by about Rs 20-40 since the beginning of the month. Pankaj, a vegetable vendor in Vasundhara Enclave, said the price had touched Rs 100 a day earlier.”There is a massive shortage in supply and we are able to get very little stock of average quality right now. Sales are down,” he said.Meanwhile, Azadpur mandi has been witnessing a protest by tomato vendors since the middle of last week. “Some people have come and occupied a few of the sheds and APMC is doing nothing about it. We are still selling tomato stock that is coming in but on Friday , if we go through with the protest, there will be no sale of tomato,” said Malhotra.
 “Other associations have also promised to join in. The APMC has no committee members because between the government and the lieutenant governor, they have not managed to notify the members even eight months after the election. We are demanding that the secretary be sacked,” he added.

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