At a time when tomato prices have crossed the 100-rupee mark, the ongoing calamity in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh may jack up the rates further.
In Himachal’s Mandi district is Balh Ghati, which accounts for the major portion of the tomato supply to north India. A bumper crop of tomatoes this year had given farmers hope for good business. But, with the deluge flooding crops and severely hitting logistics, they are now staring at a huge loss. Every year, this area would see a tomato business of nearly ₹ 600 crore in three months. This time, that may take a big hit.
For households in north India, this means a further hike in tomato prices, leading to a jump in monthly expenses. Especially for Delhi, the Himachal rain is bad news as far as kitchen budgets are concerned.
“The increase in prices of tomato is due to tight supply from the key producing centres. Because of rainfall, the supply is disrupted,” the president of Delhi’s Azadpur Tomato Association Ashok Kaushik told news agency PTI last week. The situation has only turned worse.
Tomato prices typically see a hike during June-July and in October-November due to lean production in major growing areas. This year, according to reports, the price rise was compounded due to a heatwave and pest attacks in Rabi season. This prompted farmers to quickly sell their produce, leading to a crisis later.
The Kharif crop from Himachal and other areas would have brought fresh stock of the kitchen staple into the market, lowering prices and easing families’ cooking costs. But with the large-scale destruction in Himachal, that hope may just become a wish.