Chennai, July 26 (BPNS)
With the arrival of tomatoes reduced in South India’s largest vegetable market- Koyambedu market, in Chennai, the price of tomatoes have touched to Rs 170 per kilogram in Chennai and outskirts in the retail market.
In the whole sale market, the price ranges from Rs 120 to Rs 130 per kilogram.
R.K. Kuppusamy, a whole sale trader of tomatoes and potatoes in Koyambedu market told BPNS that generally 800 tonnes of tomato load reaches the market in alternate days and now this has sharply come down to 250 tonnes. The reduced arrival of tomatoes, according to the merchants is due to the destruction of crops in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh due to heavy rains for the past few weeks in the two states.
The consumption of tomato has also reduced as people prefer to shy away from the vegetable due to the high prices. Sheeba, a housewife in Ashok Nagar while speaking to BPNS said, “We have cut short tomato from our vegetable pack. If we feel like buying, we buy for Rs 50 and the purchase of 1 kg of tomatoes is during good old days.”
Several traders also shared their predicament due to the rising prices of the vegetable and the corresponding reduction in purchase of the vegetable.
Seethanath, a vegetable trader from Teynampet while speaking to BPNS said,” It is very difficult for the retail businessmen to survive in this market. Tomato price is oscillating and we have difficulties in selling the product. I don’t know how to move ahead as most of families have stopped buying it.”
It may be noted that across Tamil Nadu, tomato has turned costlier and with the advent of rains in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, where the vegetable is cultivated in large quantities.
Tamil Nadu government had started selling tomatoes at Rs 60 per kg through Public Distribution System (PDS) shops. However consumers said that the quality of the tomatoes was poor and that most who wanted to buy tomatoes depends upon the public market.
G. Manonamani, a housewife at Adayar in Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “ The price of tomatoes has touched high and government intervened by selling tomatoes through PDS shops. I am very sorry to say that it was better for the government not to sell tomatoes as the quality of the product was too bad and we still prefer to buy from retail markets even though price is on the higher side.”
The traders are also worried that the soaring price of tomatoes would take away the consumers from the vegetable. The continuing rains in Andhra and Karnataka is a major problem that haunts the traders as the volume of tomato that was coming to Kerala has dipped and this would continue in the coming few weeks if product is not available at cultivating areas.
R .Najimuddeen, a whole sale trader in Koyambedu market while speaking to BPNS said,” We feel that with tcontinuing crop loss in Karnataka and Andhra where tomato farming is extensively done, the market prices of tomatoes is likely to increase creating immense difficulties for both the traders and the consumers.”