Sudden spike in prices of vegetables will go down soon: Officials

New Delhi : The spurt in prices of tomato is a temporary seasonal phenomenon, and rates will cool down soon, a top government official said, as retail prices of the kitchen staple shot up to Rs 100 per kg in major cities.

It is a highly perishable commodity. Transportation gets affected in areas that received sudden rains. It is a temporary issue. Prices will cool down soon. It happens every year during this time,” said an official at the Department of consumer affairs.

Stating that there is a seasonality in tomato, he said the data on tomato prices of the last five years shows that the rates have risen every year at this time. From Himachal Pradesh, the supply to Delhi will start coming in the next 10 days and prices will soften.

According to the data maintained by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the average price of tomato on an all-India basis is Rs 46 per kg on June 27. The modal price is Rs 50 per kg while the maximum price is Rs 122 per kg.

Across four metros, the retail price of tomato in Delhi is Rs 80 per kg, Mumbai is Rs 80-110 per kg, Kolkata is Rs 100-150 per kg and Chennai is Rs 50-70 per kg.

Among other major cities, the prices stood at Rs 52 per kg in Bengaluru, Rs 80 per kg in Jammu, Rs 60 per kg in Lucknow, Rs 88 per kg in Shimla, Rs 100 per kg in Bhubaneshwar and Rs 99 per kg in Raipur.

The maximum price of Rs 122 per kg has been reported from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Bellary (Karnataka), as per the department data.

In the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), tomato prices at Mother Dairy’s Safal stores have doubled to nearly Rs 80 per kg in the last one week as supplies have been affected due to rains in key producing states.

The best quality tomatoes at Mother Dairy’s Safal retail stores are being sold at Rs 78 per kg on Tuesday. Some varieties are available at lower rates also. There are more than 300 Safal stores in the Delhi-NCR market.

“With the onset of monsoon, the tomato crop is currently going through a seasonal transition. Rainfall in areas such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have impacted the crop and also restricted its supply, resulting in a demand-supply gap,” a Mother Dairy spokesperson said.

Agritech startup Otipy, which markets fresh fruits and vegetables through a mobile app, is selling tomatoes at Rs 86 per kg. Tomatoes are available at Rs 80-85 per kg on the e-commerce platform Big Basket.

Vegetable vendors in the national capital are selling tomatoes between Rs 80-120 per kg, depending on the location and quality.

“We were selling tomatoes at Rs 25-30 per kg around June 15. It started to increase gradually after that to Rs 40, then Rs 60 and now we are selling at Rs 80 per kg,” Babloo, a vegetable vendor in Paschim Vihar, West Delhi, said.

The prices at Azadpur, the biggest wholesale market of fruits and vegetables in the country, have increased sharply, he added.

However, according to the price prediction made based on artificial intelligence by the consumer affairs ministry, the prices of tomato are likely to remain lower in July, the official said.

In the producing centre of Madanapalle (Andhra Pradesh), the average whole prices at present are ruling at Rs 5,600 per quintal and the rates are expected to come down to Rs 4,400 per quintal in July. Similarly, the average price of tomato is ruling at Rs 3,670 per quintal in Kolar (Karnataka) at present, and is likely to decline to Rs 2,700 per quintal in July, he added.

As per the government data, tomato production is estimated to fall slightly to 20.62 million tonnes in 2022-23 from 20.69 million tonnes in the previous year.