In a sudden turn of events, tomato prices have surged across the country in the past week. Retail prices have doubled to ₹80-120 per kg, while wholesale prices have increased to ₹65-70 per kg from ₹30-35 per kg. The price hike can be attributed to a sharp decline in tomato production caused by a combination of factors, including high heat, delayed rainfall, and farmers’ lack of interest due to crashing prices in May.
Production Decline Triggers Price Surge
Tomato prices have witnessed a significant increase in the past week, with retail prices skyrocketing to ₹80-120 per kg and wholesale prices rising to ₹65-70 per kg. The primary cause behind this sudden surge is the steep decline in tomato production throughout the country.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions and Farmer Disinterest Contribute
Multiple factors have contributed to the decline in tomato production. High heat and delayed rainfall have adversely affected the growth and yield of tomato crops. Additionally, farmers had become disinterested in growing tomatoes due to the crash in prices, which plummeted to ₹3-5 per kg in May. The lack of profitability led to a decrease in the cultivation of tomatoes.
Supply Chain Disruption Leads to Sourcing from Different Regions
To compensate for the reduced local supply, traders have had to source tomatoes from other regions. The supply of tomatoes from neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh has dwindled, resulting in a shift towards procuring tomatoes from Bangalore and other distant locations. This disruption in the supply chain has further contributed to the increase in prices.
Damaged Crops and Reduced Care Compound the Issue
Recent rainfall has caused damage to tomato crops, particularly those grown on the ground. However, plants that were vertically grown with the support of wires have fared better. The adverse weather conditions have hampered the overall health and quality of tomato plants, further impacting production.
Low Prices Force Farmers to Neglect Crop Maintenance
Farmers, grappling with rock-bottom prices, resorted to neglecting the maintenance of their tomato fields. They refrained from spraying pesticides or using fertilizers as the returns were not lucrative enough. This negligence led to an increased incidence of pests and diseases, resulting in a further decline in tomato production.
Pests, Diseases, and Falling Production Add to Woes
The lack of proper care and maintenance due to low prices has exacerbated the vulnerability of tomato crops to pests and diseases. The combination of unfavorable weather conditions, neglect, and reduced pesticide usage has led to a surge in pest infestations and diseases, further contributing to the fall in tomato production.
Uncertainty Looms Over Future Price Trends
Although the current surge in tomato prices is notable, it is challenging to predict future price trends accurately. The upcoming weeks may witness a decline in prices as harvests from new regions begin. However, if heavy rainfall persists in key growing areas such as Himachal Pradesh, prices may remain firm. The market remains uncertain, and price fluctuations are expected based on various factors that impact tomato production and supply.
The sudden surge in tomato prices can be attributed to a sharp decline in production caused by unfavorable weather conditions, farmer disinterest due to crashing prices, and subsequent neglect in crop maintenance. The disruption in the supply chain has also forced traders to source tomatoes from different regions. As the market remains uncertain, future price trends will depend on factors such as weather conditions, harvests from new pockets, and the overall demand-supply dynamics.