The suspension of trade via roads between Pakistan and India and the consequent supply glut has sent local tomato prices crashing. Wholesale prices have crashed to some Rs 2-3/kg at Pimpalgaon Baswant and Lasalgaon. Even top quality tomatoes are now being sold at just Rs 6-7 per kg. In Nashik district, the prices crashed to a third in just over a week. Pakistan used to import nearly 50,000 tonnes of tomatoes from India annually and Bangladesh up to 35000 tonnes. While political tension between India and Pakistan led to the suspension of exports via land to Pakistan, exports to Bangladesh are hit after Dhaka increased the import duty on agricultural produces to 48%.
Adding weight to the burden of food inflation, the retail price of tomato has been steadily climbing over the last two weeks. The fruit is now selling for Rs 40-48 per kg in parts of the city. “There is no dearth of good quality tomatoes that would point to a shortage. The fruit is large, red and juicy. It is difficult to see why the cost has increased from the average Rs 15-18 to Rs 40-45. Wholesale prices range from Rs 8 for average produce to Rs 20-25 for best quality tomatoes. The crop shortage in Narayangaon is responsible for this. Milking the situation, retailers are charging double the wholesale price claiming losses due to spoilage by rain. Tomato sold for Rs 40 in Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri, and JN Road, Mulund, and Rs 48 in Breach Candy, Matunga and Chembur. At Churchway in Borivli’s IC Colony, the price was Rs 50.