DTI News

April 23, 2024
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“Heavy rains fuel tomato shortage, propel food prices upward, affecting consumers”

New Delhi: A surge in tomato prices, driven by supply shortages due to heavy rains, has left consumers dismayed. Simultaneously, government data has revealed a broader trend, with significant price hikes observed in various essential food items, except for potatoes.

The Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs, during a recent Parliament session, disclosed a worrying escalation in the prices of several staple foods over the past year. Arhar Dal witnessed the most dramatic increase, soaring by 28%, followed by Rice (10.5%), Urad Dal, and Atta (both experiencing an 8% rise). The average retail price of rice reached Rs 41 per kg, marking a notable surge from Rs 37 per kg a year ago.

The Ministry attributed the substantial spike in tur dal prices to a domestic production deficit. The third advance estimate from the Ministry of Agriculture for the 2022-2023 crop year projected tur dal production at 34.3 lakh tonnes, significantly lower than the 42.2 lakh tonnes of the previous crop year.

The Price Monitoring Cell of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs reported that the average retail price of tur dal escalated to Rs 136 per kg, compared to Rs 106.5 per kg the previous year. Urad dal prices also climbed from Rs 106.5 to Rs 114 per kg. Moong dal, too, experienced an increase, now costing Rs 102 per kg compared to Rs 111 last year.

In contrast, the Ministry noted a 12% decrease in the average retail price of potatoes across India compared to the previous year, while onion prices registered a 5% increase.

Addressing the tomato price surge, the Ministry stated, “Recent weeks have witnessed an increase in tomato prices due to a combination of factors, including seasonal variations, the whitefly disease in Kolar, and the early onset of monsoon rains in the northern region.” Furthermore, heavy rainfall impacted tomato crops in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, causing logistical disruptions in various areas.

Government data unveiled that the average price of tomatoes reached Rs 140 per kg, a stark contrast from Rs 34 per kg the previous year. Notably, tomato prices surged to Rs 257 per kg in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, while the commodity was being sold at Rs 213 per kg in Delhi and Rs 157 per kg in Mumbai.

These escalating food prices have ignited concerns among citizens, prompting a closer examination of the complex factors at play within the agricultural supply chain. As consumers grapple with the impact of fluctuating costs, stakeholders across the spectrum are seeking solutions to ensure stable and affordable access to essential food items.

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