After onions, tomatoes are leading to culinary catastrophes in kitchens across the Capital. Short supply from feeder states has led to manifold increase in tomato prices over the last week.
The staple of most household is being sold at Rs40 per kg at most retail markets in Delhi on Tuesday. At Mother Dairy's Safal outlets, too, tomatoes were being sold at Rs35 per kg, up from Rs32 per kg on Monday. Delhi gets tomatoes from Nasik in Maharashtra, Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
"This time around, even when stocks from Nasik and Shimla are getting over, tomatoes from Ratlam have not started arriving. The crop cycle was disturbed due to excess rains, which has delayed the produce," said Subhash Chug, general secretary, Vegetable Traders' Association at Azadpur mandi.
Generally, even in December, when the crop output is good, retail rates do not go beyond Rs25 per kg. Last year, however, due to rains and continuing exports, shortage had led to retail rates in the city going up to Rs30 per kg.
Delhi's wholesale market also exports tomatoes to Pakistan via Amritsar. These exports comprise almost 25% of the stock traded in the Capital.
"Even when there is a shortage, the export to Pakistan continues. The government should do something about it as it will bring in additional availability of stock for us," said a trader on condition of anonymity.
Usually, Azadpur Mandi gets around 2,200-2,500 tonnes tomatoes in 100-125 trucks. Currently, it is getting only about 60-70 trucks of the produce.