Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Percentage of Indians who have stopped buying tomatoes up from 7 percent to 14 percent: Report

With the rise in tomato prices across India, the government has instructed the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation and the National Cooperative Consumers Federation to acquire tomatoes for distribution in areas with the highest price increases

Samidha Jain
Published: Jul 15, 2023 08:00:22 AM IST
Updated: Jul 14, 2023 06:00:39 PM IST

Percentage of Indians who have stopped buying tomatoes up from 7 percent to 14 percent: ReportDuring the past three weeks, the cost of tomatoes has significantly surged in various cities throughout the country. Image: NARINDER NANU / AFP​

In just a matter of three days, the percentage of Indians stopping their purchase of tomatoes has doubled—going from 7 percent on July 12 to 14 percent on July 14—amidst the continuing rise in tomato prices. A new survey by LocalCircles, which analysed 22,000 responses from citizens located in 342 districts of India, highlighted that as of now 41 percent households are paying Rs 100-150 per/kg for tomatoes; 27 percent are paying Rs 150-200/kg, and 14 percent have been paying Rs 200-250/kg. 
 
During the past three weeks, the cost of tomatoes has significantly surged in various cities throughout the country. This price surge has affected not only retail markets but also wholesale markets. In Delhi, for instance, tomato prices have skyrocketed from Rs 20-30/kg on June 24 to as high as Rs 180/kg, and even Rs 220/kg for select varieties or superior quality. In many other cities, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, tomatoes are currently priced above Rs 180/kg, with certain varieties being particularly costly.
 
From Friday, July 14, the Department of Consumer Affairs has instructed the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) to promptly initiate the acquisition of tomatoes. The objective is to distribute them in prominent consumption hubs, where the retail prices have witnessed the highest surge in the past month.  
 
The survey report, by the social media platform and pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest, further highlights that 68 percent Indian households indicated that they have reduced consumption of tomatoes.

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

The survey concludes by highlighting the potential for earlier intervention by NAFED and NCCF to mitigate the escalating prices and the possibility of planning imports to alleviate the strain faced by households nationwide. The expectation is that lessons are being learned from this experience, prompting administrators to be more proactive in addressing future commodity challenges or similar occurrences. However, at present, the consumption of tomatoes remains limited for the majority of households across the country.