After onions and pulses, it is time for tomato prices to skyrocket.
The price of the popular vegetable has almost doubled in the past two weeks, and traders said it could rise further.
The price of tomato at the APMC wholesale market in Vashi was Rs14 to Rs18 a kg on October 23. It has now soared to Rs24 to Rs28 a kg. The retail market too has doubled the price — increasing it from Rs25 to Rs30 a kg to Rs50 to Rs60 a kg.
The rise in the price of the kitchen staple comes just a month after prices of pulses shot up in the first week of October to Rs150 a kg.
Rakesh Sahu, a wholesale trader at APMC, said: “The sudden unseasonal rain sometime ago has destroyed the crop. The tomato flowers that had bloomed were ruined. Farmers lost a lot of crop, and hence, the stocks have reduced by more than 60%.”
The situation is not expected to improve soon, Sahu said. “The next crop will arrive only after two months. So, prices could increase further. There could be some respite, if there are imports of good quality tomatoes from China.”
The effect of the price hike can be seen at the retail markets too.
Santosh Rawat, a Vashi retailer, said: “Our customers are upset at the price hike, but we are helpless. The cost is high at the wholesale market, so there is little we can do. We are still trying to keep prices as low as possible.”
Former APMC director Shankar Pingle said: “Usually, we get 70 to 80 trucks of tomatoes in the market. It has come down to around 30 to 40.”
Rajesh Yadav, a Vashi retailer, said: “The quality that we are getting is not very good. A lot of it rots early. We have to make up for the loss and hence have to hike the price.” He added, “The good quality produce is not much and is priced at over Rs60.” Yadav said: “The demand is bound to go up further during Diwali as the consumption increases. This means the price could rise by at least Rs10 to Rs20.”
Sheetal Kandhari, a homemaker in Vashi, said: “Onion, pulses and now tomato. The manner in vegetables prices are going up, we will have to give up eating them.”
In Mumbai, the retail price of tomato touched Rs50 a kg. “There is no supply from farmers. Prices are bound to increase,” said Prabhunand Singh, a vendor in Goregaon.