The Centre will sell tomatoes at Rs 80 per kg from Sunday, as against Rs 90 per kg earlier, to provide relief to people from high prices of the key kitchen item in retail markets.
On Friday, the Centre started to sell tomatoes at a discounted rate of Rs 90 per kg in Delhi-NCR through mobile vans. More cities were added on Saturday.
“There has been a decrease in the wholesale prices of tomatoes due to the intervention of the government to sell it at a concessional rate of Rs 90 per kg, at several locations in the country where the prices were ruling exceptionally high,” an official statement said.
“After a re-assessment of the situation from across 500 plus points in the country, it has been decided to sell it at Rs 80 per kg from today, Sunday, July 16th, 2023,” it added.
Sales have started on Sunday at several points in Delhi, Noida, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Patna, Muzaffarpur and Arrah through cooperatives NAFED and NCCF, the statement said.
The sale of tomatoes at discounted price will be expanded to more cities from Monday depending upon the prevailing market prices at such locations.
“The government of India is committed to provide relief to the consumers,” the statement said.
The National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) are selling tomatoes on behalf of the Centre through mobile vans.
Prices of tomatoes in the retail market remain at an elevated level of up to Rs 250 per kg across major cities due to monsoon rains and lean season.
The all-India average price stood at nearly Rs 117 per kg on Saturday, according to the government.
As per the data compiled by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the average all-India retail price of tomatoes was ruling at Rs 116.86 per kg on Saturday, while the maximum rate was Rs 250 per kg and the minimum was Rs 25 per kg. Modal price of tomatoes was Rs 100 per kg.
Among metros, tomatoes were ruling at Rs 178 per kg in Delhi, followed by Rs 150 per kg in Mumbai, and Rs 132 per kg in Chennai.
The maximum price of Rs 250 per kg was in Hapur.
Tomato prices normally shoot up during July-August and October-November periods, which are generally lean production months.
Supply disruption caused due to the monsoon has led to a sharp rise in the rates.
Speaking to PTI, NCCF Managing Director Anice Joseph Chandra said tomatoes are being procured from Madanapalli (Andhra Pradesh), Kolar (Karnataka) and Sanganeri (Maharashtra) NCCF has already sold 35,000 kg of tomatoes in the last two days. It expects to sell 20,000 kg in Delhi-NCR on Sunday, 15,000 kg in Varanasi, 10,000 kg each in Lucknow and Kanpur, she said.
NCCF sold about 7,000 kg in Lucknow on Saturday and this itself helped to bring down the wholesale rate from Rs 130 per kg to 115 per kg, she noted.
Joseph Chandra said, “Further reduction in the price to Rs 80 per kg will further cool down the prices in the coming days. We will continue to intervene till the price stabilizes.” Currently, NCCF is selling tomatoes through its mobile vans and 4-5 outlets owned by NAFED in Delhi-NCR. It will start the sale via retail outlets of Kendriya Bhandar from Sunday.