A month ago, when the local season was at its peak, tomatoes at Rs 2 per kg had few takers in Gurgaon’s wholesale market. Farmers were forced to throw away their produce and some even scattered it on the roads to protest against the government for failing to come to their rescue.
The reason for this wastage was that Gurgaon does not have a single cold storage unit to store vegetables for the lean season as neither the government nor private sector gave any thought to it.
Had there been a cold storage facility, tomatoes wasted in May could have been saved and sold now, ensuring that the price did not rise so steeply. “Farmers could also have got the right price even if there was no supply,” said Sudesh Gupta, secretary, agriculture marketing committee.
On Wednesday, tomatoes were sold in the wholesale market for Rs 40 per kg. “There is no cold storage facility in the entire district and, as a result, a lot of perishable goods, including tomatoes, were left to rot. Had we managed to store the crop in May, the present situation would have been so different,” said Din Mohammad, district horticulture office, Gurgaon.
Due to non-availability of the produce locally, Tomatoes are now being sourced from Ladwa in Haryana, Shimla and Nasik -- a move that has added to the cost. In fact, wholesalers in Gurgaon mandi said the price in Ladwa and other areas has risen sharply because of the sudden rise in demand across north India.
Dharmender Singh, a retailer, said price of tomatoes was between Rs 30 and Rs 35 per kg but it suddenly spiked after the recent rains.
Horticulture officials, however, attributed the annual price rise to poor post- harvest management of vegetables and lack of cold chain facilities in the district. To make amends, the Haryana government this week approved the setting up of a cold storage in Gurgaon at the cost of Rs 4 crore.
“We plan to set up the cold storage in Gurgaon near National Highway 8 so that vegetable and fruit-producing areas of Mewat, Rewari and Farrukhnagar can be covered. The facility will come up in this financial year,” said Din Mohammad, assuring both farmers and consumers of some relief soon.