The Centre will sell tomatoes at discounted prices in retail markets, starting from Friday. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) will undertake the sale of tomatoes. The discounted tomatoes will be available in Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal, with cities such as Patna, Varanasi, Kanpur, and Kolkata being included in the scheme.
According to Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, the tomatoes will be sold at prices at least 30 per cent lower than the prevailing market rates in the respective areas. Both NAFED and NCCF will procure the perishable commodity from key producing centres in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The tomatoes will then be sold in major consumption centres, where retail prices have seen the highest increase in the past month.
Singh acknowledged the challenges associated with selling tomatoes in retail markets, as it is a highly perishable commodity. In Delhi-NCR, NCCF will sell tomatoes through its outlets, mobile vans, and platforms like Mother Dairy’s Safal and Kendriya Bhandar outlets. In other cities, both NAFED and NCCF will sell tomatoes at discounted rates through their own outlets or in partnership with local vendors.
The sale of discounted tomatoes will continue until prices stabilise, which is anticipated to happen at the beginning of August. The intervention centres for tomato sales have been identified based on the absolute increase in retail prices over the past month, with priority given to centres where prices exceed the national average.
Tomato prices typically experience pressure during the lean production months of July-August and October-November. Monsoon-related supply disruptions have exacerbated the recent price surge. Current supplies in markets are mainly from Maharashtra, but additional supply is expected soon from Nashik, Narayangaon, and Aurangabad. Prices are expected to cool down as these new supplies become available.
The ministry highlighted the seasonality of tomato production, with southern and western regions contributing the majority of India’s tomato production. Price spikes can occur due to temporary supply chain disruptions and crop damage caused by adverse weather conditions.
The discounted tomato sale initiative aims to alleviate the burden on consumers and stabilise tomato prices during this challenging period.