The Department of Consumer Affairs has directed National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) to immediately procure tomatoes from Mandis in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra for simultaneous distribution in major consumption centers where retail prices have recorded the maximum increase in the last one month. The stocks of tomatoes will be distributed through retail outlets at discounted prices to the consumers in Delhi-NCR region.
The targeted centers for release have been identified on the basis of the absolute increase in retail prices over the past one month in centers where prevailing prices are above the All-India average. Key consumption centers in states having a higher concentration of the identified centers are further selected for the intervention.
Tomato is produced almost in all the states in India, though in varying quantities. Maximum production is in southern and western regions of India, contributing 56%-58% of all Indian production. Southern and Western regions being surplus states feed to other markets depending on production seasons. The production seasons are also different across regions. The peak harvesting season occurs from December to February. The periods during July-August and October-November are generally the lean production months for tomato. July coinciding with the monsoon season adds to further challenges related to distribution and increased transit losses adding to price rise. The cycle of planting and harvesting seasons and variation across regions are primarily responsible for price seasonality in Tomato. Apart from the normal price seasonality, temporary supply chain disruptions and crop damage due to adverse weather conditions etc. often lead to sudden spikes in prices.
Currently, the supplies coming to markets in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and some other states are mostly from Maharashtra, especially Satara, Narayangaon, and Nashik which is expected to last till this month's end. Madanapalle (Chittoor) in Andhra Pradesh also has continued arrivals in reasonable quantities. The arrivals in Delhi-NCR are mainly from Himachal Pradesh, and some quantity comes from Kolar in Karnataka.
New crop arrivals are expected soon from the Nashik district. Furthermore, in August, additional supply is expected to come from Narayangaon and Aurangabad belt. Madhya Pradesh arrivals are also expected to start. Prices are anticipated to cool down in the near future, accordingly.