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Spike in tomato prices temporary phenomenon: Govt official

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NEW DELHI, June 27 (PTI): The spurt in prices of tomato is a temporary seasonal phenomenon and rates will cool down soon, a top government official said as retail prices of the kitchen staple shot up to Rs 100 per kg in major cities.

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“It is a highly perishable commodity. Transportation gets affected in areas that received sudden rains. It is a temporary issue. Prices will cool down soon. It happens every year during this time,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told PTI.

According to the data maintained by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the average price of tomato on an all-India basis is Rs 46 per kg on June 27. The modal price is Rs 50 per kg while the maximum price is Rs 122 per kg.

Across four metros, the retail price of tomato in Delhi is Rs 60 per kg, Mumbai is Rs 42 per kg, Kolkata is Rs 75 per kg and Chennai is Rs 67 per kg.

Among other major cities, the prices stood at Rs 52 per kg in Bengaluru, Rs 80 per kg in Jammu, Rs 60 per kg in Lucknow, Rs 88 per kg in Shimla, Rs 100 per kg in Bhubaneshwar and Rs 99 per kg in Raipur.

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The maximum price of Rs 122 per kg has been reported from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Bellary (Karnataka), as per the department data.

In the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), tomato prices at Mother Dairy’s Safal stores have doubled to nearly Rs 80 per kg in the last one week as supplies have been affected due to rains in key producing states.

The best quality tomatoes at Mother Dairy’s Safal retail stores are being sold at Rs 78 per kg on Tuesday. Some varieties are available at lower rates also. There are more than 300 Safal stores in the Delhi-NCR market.

“With the onset of monsoon, the tomato crop is currently going through a seasonal transition. Rainfall in areas such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have impacted the crop and also restricted its supply, resulting in a demand-supply gap,” a Mother Dairy spokesperson said.

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Agritech startup Otipy, which markets fresh fruits and vegetables through mobile app, is selling tomatoes at Rs 86 per kg. Tomatoes are available at Rs 80-85 per kg on e-commerce platform Big Basket.

Vegetable vendors in the national capital are selling tomatoes between Rs 80-120 per kg, depending on the location and quality.

“We were selling tomatoes at Rs 25-30 per kg around June 15. It started to increase gradually after that to Rs 40, then Rs 60 and now we are selling at Rs 80 per kg,” Babloo, a vegetable vendor in Paschim Vihar, West Delhi, said.

The prices at Azadpur, the biggest wholesale market of fruits and vegetables in the country, have increased sharply, he added.

As per the government data, tomato production is estimated to fall slightly to 20.62 million tonnes in 2022-23 from 20.69 million tonnes in the previous year.

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