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NCCF to dispose 60 tonnes tomatoes including Nepal supplies in Delhi over weekend to bring down prices further

National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF) is gearing up to dispose about 60 tonnes of tomatoes, including 10 tonnes to be imported from Nepal, in Delhi national capital region (NCR) over the weekend to bring down tomato prices further ahead of Independence Day, two government officials aware of the matter said.

This comes after tomato prices shot up again since the last week of July due to another spell of unseasonal rain disrupting the procurement operations in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh and consequently the supply chain.

All-India average price of tomatoes came down to 116.73 a kg in the retail market on 23 July and started rising again from 24 July onwards. On 11 August, the price was 124.43 per kg, data by consumer affairs’ price monitoring division show.

“To give the taste of feeling good to consumers ahead of Independence Day, we are planning to deploy 70 vans across Delhi-NCR and aim to sell around 60 tonnes of tomatoes over the weekend as against the usual 10-15 tonnes,” NCCF Managing Director Anice Joseph Chandra told Mint. “We are also importing tomatoes from Nepal and the first consignment containing 10 tonnes of the kitchen essential which is in transit is expected to arrive soon. The supplies from Nepal will be disposed in the markets of Lucknow, Kanpur, and Varanasi.”

The aggressive sale is being taken up to address the issues of an uptick in prices, long lines, less supplies due to disruption in the supply chain amid one more round of monsoon spell. At present, tomatoes are coming from some regions of Madhya Pradesh’s Indore in absence of substantial supplies from Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, she informed. “With more supplies, prices in northern cities are expected to shrink significantly.”

Queries sent to consumers affairs ministry, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and NCCF remained unanswered till press time.

While the major drop in Kharif production of tomato is seen in Himachal Pradesh where nearly half of the area is damaged in comparison to the previous year’s harvest, the output in Karnataka is estimated to be higher as compared to last year. Around this time of the year, northern cities get tomatoes mainly from Himachal Pradesh. However, due to a rain deluge in the first week of July crops in the field were damaged, shaking the supply chain.

Prices of A-grade tomatoes in the wholesale markets of Lucknow are still hovering above 100 per kg, whereas prices in Kanpur, Varanasi and Jaipur market went down below 100 a kg. “We are trying to bring down prices further. The target is to bring retail prices down below 100 and it may reflect with this operation in the coming week,” NCCF MD shared.

The government decided to sell tomatoes from 14 July in northern cities, including Delhi at a concessional rate of 70-90 a kg after tomato prices had gone up by 85-90% to 250-260 per kg in the retail market since the last week of June. NCCF is supplying tomatoes in Delhi-NCR, while NAFED is taking care of the operation in other states.

So far, the government, via its two agencies, has disposed 1,047 tonnes of tomatoes against 1,168 tonnes purchased since the beginning of the operation, the other official informed.

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Updated: 12 Aug 2023, 02:13 AM IST

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