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Government to procure tomatoes to stabilise soaring prices

Government to procure tomatoes to stabilise soaring prices

New Delhi: Tomato prices have reached unprecedented levels in the country and have been persisting around the 100-rupee mark for several weeks. The central government has now announced measures to address the soaring prices of this essential kitchen staple.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has instructed the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation and the National Cooperative Consumers Federation to procure tomatoes from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. These tomatoes will be distributed in areas that have experienced the most significant surge in tomato prices. The government has stated that fresh stocks will be made available to consumers in the Delhi-NCR region at discounted prices by Friday.

The selection of distribution centres for the fresh tomato stocks has been based on the absolute increase in retail prices over the past month, taking into account the level of consumption in each area. While tomato cultivation takes place in almost every state in India, the southern and western regions contribute approximately 60% of the country's total production. Surplus produce from these regions is then used to ensure a continuous supply to other parts of the country.

According to a government statement, different regions have varying production seasons. The peak harvesting season for tomatoes occurs from December to February, while July-August and October-November are generally lean production months. The statement explains that price fluctuations during this period are influenced by factors such as the monsoon season, distribution challenges, increased transit losses, and supply chain disruptions due to adverse weather conditions.

At present, tomato supplies are being sourced from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh, with Delhi and nearby cities receiving stocks from Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. The government anticipates new crop arrivals from Maharashtra and the commencement of arrivals from Madhya Pradesh. As a result, prices are expected to stabilise soon.

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