In response to the recent surge in tomato prices in major consumption centers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has taken proactive measures to address the issue. By directing the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) to procure tomatoes from specific regions, the government aims to ensure affordable access to this essential vegetable for consumers. This move comes as a relief for farmers and consumers alike, as it targets areas where retail prices have recorded significant increases.
The soaring prices of tomatoes in recent times have raised concerns among consumers and farmers. To address this situation and stabilize the market, the Department of Consumer Affairs has taken decisive action by instructing NAFED and NCCF to procure tomatoes from specific mandis (wholesale markets) in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The goal is to distribute these tomatoes in major consumption centers, especially in the Delhi-NCR region, at discounted prices.
- Targeted Procurement: NAFED and NCCF have been directed to immediately procure tomatoes from mandis in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, where prices have witnessed a substantial increase in the past month.
- Distribution to Major Consumption Centers: The procured tomato stocks will be distributed through retail outlets in key consumption centers, primarily in the Delhi-NCR region. This ensures that consumers in areas with significant price hikes can access tomatoes at reduced prices.
- Identifying Centers with Maximum Price Increase: The centers for tomato release are chosen by identifying those with the highest absolute increase in retail prices within the past month.These centers are selected considering their prices being above the All-India average.
- Surplus States and Production Seasons: India’s tomato production is distributed across different states, with southern and western regions contributing the majority share (56%-58%) of total production. These surplus states cater to other markets during specific production seasons.
- Price Seasonality: Tomato prices experience seasonality due to the cycle of planting and harvesting seasons, which varies across regions. The peak harvesting season typically occurs from December to February, while lean production months are during July-August and October-November.
- Supply Sources: Currently, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi-NCR markets rely on tomato supplies predominantly sourced from Maharashtra, particularly Satara, Narayangaon, and Nashik regions. Madanapalle (Chittoor) in Andhra Pradesh also contributes significant arrivals.
- Expected Crop Arrivals: Nashik district is soon expecting new crop arrivals, and further supplies are anticipated from Narayangaon and Aurangabad belt in August. Madhya Pradesh arrivals are also expected to begin soon, leading to a potential cooling down of prices.
The timely intervention of the Department of Consumer Affairs through NAFED and NCCF’s tomato procurement and distribution strategy is set to alleviate the burden of rising tomato prices for consumers. By targeting specific regions and consumption centers, the government aims to stabilize prices and ensure accessibility to this essential vegetable for all. Moreover, the expected increase in crop arrivals from different regions will contribute to a more balanced market, benefitting both farmers and consumers in the near future.