New Delhi, Aug 15: In its bid to give further relief to consumers, the central government said it has directed its marketing agencies to sell tomatoes at Rs 50 per kg instead of Rs 70 starting Tuesday.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in a release Monday said it had revised rates “in view of the decline in tomato prices in the wholesale markets.”
The retail sale of tomatoes in Delhi-NCR started on July 14. Till now, a total of 15 lakh kg of tomato had been procured by the two agencies which are being continuously disposed of to the retail consumers in major consumption centres in the country. These locations include Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan (Jaipur, Kota), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj) and Bihar (Patna, Muzaffarpur, Arrah, Buxar).
The tomatoes procured by the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) had been retailed, initially, at Rs 90 per kg and then reduced to Rs 80 per kg from July 16, 2023, to now Rs 70.
“Over the past few days, NCCF had substantially increased the quantity of tomato supplied to the retail consumers by stationing its mobile vans across 70 locations all over Delhi, and 15 locations in Noida and Greater Noida. In addition, NCCF is also continuously doing retail sale of tomatoes through the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform,” the release said.
The periods during July-August and October-November are generally the lean production months for tomatoes.
Tomato is produced almost in all the states in India, though in varying quantities. The southern and western regions of India account for 56-58 per cent of total tomato production in the country.
The government had attributed the rise in prices to the monsoon season, saying that it added to further challenges related to distribution and increased transit losses.
Tomatoes have a relatively lower shelf life.
Notably, the rise in tomato and other vegetable prices was reflected in the June and July retail inflation data.
Retail inflation in India rose sharply in July to 7.44 per cent and in the process breached RBI's 6 per cent upper tolerance target, largely due to a sharp spurt in vegetable, fruit, and pulses prices.
In June too, the overall retail inflation too rose considerably to 4.81 per cent, largely due to a sharp spurt in vegetable prices. Back in May, the retail inflation was at 4.25 per cent, hitting a two-year low. It was at 4.7 per cent in April and 5.7 per cent the previous month.