The prices of tomato is expected to come down with the increase in arrival of new crop from Nasik, Naryangoan and Aurangabad belt in Maharashtra and also from Madhya Pradesh, Centre told the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Minster of State Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ashwini Kumar Choubey made the statement in a written reply to the query of a Rajya Sabha member.
The Minister further said the Department of Consumer Affairs monitors the daily prices of 22 essential food commodities including tomato.
In order to check the current increase in prices of tomato and make it available to the consumers at affordable prices, the Minister said, the government has started the procurement of tomatoes under Price Stabilisation Fund and is making it available at a highly subsidised rate to consumers.
Choube said the National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) are continuously procuring tomato from mandis in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and making it available at affordable prices in major consuming centres in Delhi-NCR, Bihar and Rajasthan after subsidizing the price to the consumers.
“The tomatoes have been disposed initially at retail price of Rs 90 per kg which has been reduced to Rs 80 per kg from July 16 and further reduced to Rs 70 per kg from July 20,” said the Minister while responding to the query of Kartikeya Sharma, who asked about the measures taken by the government to monitor and regulate tomato prices to ensure affordability for consumers.
“Current increase in tomato prices may incentivize farmers to grow more tomato crop
which is expected to stabilize the prices in coming months.”
The Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DAFW) implements Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) to protect the growers of perishable agri-horticultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of a bumper crop during the peak arrival period when the prices tend to fall below economic levels and cost of production, said the Minister.
“Under the scheme, the loss on account of the fall in price is borne between the Central Government and State Government on 50:50 basis. Since the inception of MIS till date, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has not received any proposal from State Governments for market intervention to address distress sale of tomato,” Choube said.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries implements Operation Greens for enhancing value addition and reduction in post-harvest losses of agri-horticultural commodities, including tomato, said the Minister, adding “the objectives of the scheme are enhancing value realization of produce for farmers; protect the growers from making distress sale; increase in food processing/preservation capacities and value addition; and (iv) reduction in post-harvest losses.”
He said the scheme has both short-term interventions component and long-term interventions component.
“The short-term interventions include transportation and storage subsidy to individual farmers, group of farmers, farmer producer organisations, farmer producer companies, cooperative societies, State Marketing and Co-operative Federation, food processors, licensed commission agents, exporters and retailers. Under the long term interventions, grants-in-aid are being provided for Integrated Value Chain Development Projects and Stand-alone Post Harvest Infrastructure Projects,” added the Minister.