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82% of Indian households not availing of government subsidies for tomatoes: Report

A new survey report by LocalCircles mentions that despite government subsidies, majority of Indian households are still paying over Rs100/kg

Samidha Jain
Published: Jul 19, 2023 01:08:21 PM IST
Updated: Jul 19, 2023 01:35:33 PM IST

82% of Indian households not availing of government subsidies for tomatoes: ReportA vendor seen sleeping next to a basket of tomatoes at a vegetable market in Mumbai. Tomatoes have became very costly because of sudden rise in temperature during summer and excess rainfall in tomato producing states. Image: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

To reduce the soaring tomato prices in various Indian cities, the central government on July 14 instructed the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to procure tomatoes and sell them at subsidised prices, ranging from Rs 80 to Rs 90/kg.

According to a statement released on July 16, the government's intervention in selling tomatoes at the concessional rate of Rs 90/kg has led to a decline in wholesale prices at locations where prices were unusually high. Sales have already begun at multiple points in cities like Delhi, Noida, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Patna, Muzaffarpur, and Arrah through NAFED and NCCF. The Centre is considering extending the sale to additional cities based on the prevailing market prices at those locations.

According to a recent survey conducted by LocalCircles, a social media platform and pollster focusing on governance, public, and consumer interest issues, the government's intervention to curb tomato prices has had some impact, with 7 percent of households purchasing tomatoes through this channel. However, a significant 82 percent are still paying over Rs 100/kg for them. The number was higher at 87 percent last week. The report, which surveyed over 10,000 Indian households located in 304 districts, also revealed that approximately 15 percent of households, who previously purchased tomatoes, are now unable to afford them due to the escalating prices.  

While wholesale price data indicates a 30 percent reduction in tomato prices at the wholesale level, it has not yet reflected in retail prices. As of July 18th, most online platforms show tomatoes priced between Rs 130-230/kg.

Also read: Makers of tomato purees are keeping up with the skyrocketing demand. For now

The report mentions that the two cooperative bodies entrusted with the procurement and sale of tomatoes are buying supplies from Madanapalli (Andhra Pradesh), Kolar (Karnataka) and Sanganeri (Maharashtra). It further lays out the plans of the NCCF about selling 20,000 kg of tomatoes per day, and raising it to 40,000 kg per day as the sale picks up.  

Also read: How India eats: Thali gets costly as tomato prices hit the roof

Typically, tomato prices experience a significant surge during the monsoon months due to lower production and susceptibility to damage. This year, the situation has worsened due to the early rains in May, followed by heavy downpours during the monsoon in June, and delayed rains in some regions. These caused disruptions in the tomato supply chain, resulting in limited arrivals in wholesale markets and subsequently driving up prices sharply.

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