Tomato prices surge to over Rs 80 per kg

The average cost of a vegetarian food plate cooked at home rose to Rs 29.4 in June from Rs 26.7 recorded in the same month last year. In May 2024 it stood at Rs 27.8.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 22:14 IST

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New Delhi: Tomato price has soared to near Rs 80 per kg in several retail markets, including the national capital, as heavy rains disrupt supplies from Himachal Pradesh even as output in key growing regions Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is hit due to virus infestation in summer crop.

The retail price of tomatoes in some parts of the country has almost doubled in a month.

As per Price Monitoring Division of the Department of Consumer Affairs, average retail price of tomato jumped to Rs 58.2 per kg on July 5, which is 64.45% higher when compared with price on the same date last month. In the past one month, the wholesale price of tomatoes surged by 73.24%.

As per the official data, the retail price of onions surged by 32.19% and potatoes by 17.09% in the past one month. Retail price of onion jumped from Rs 32.53 on June 5 to Rs 43 on July 5. In the wholesale market, the price of onion soared by 36.14% in the past one month.

Surge in prices of tomato, potato and onion pushed the cost of preparing food at home by 10 per cent in June, data compiled by rating agency CRISIL showed.

The average cost of a vegetarian food plate cooked at home rose to Rs 29.4 in June from Rs 26.7 recorded in the same month last year. In May 2024 it stood at Rs 27.8.

The June hike is attributed to the spike in prices of tomato, onion and potato triggered by lower arrivals due to inclement climatic conditions, the rating agency noted in a report.

As per CRISIL, the price of tomato surged by 30% in June year-on-year, while onion and potato became costlier by 46% and 59%, respectively.

Virus infestation in tomato summer crops due to high temperatures in key growing regions of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has led to 35% year-on-year decline in production.

Unseasonal rainfall in March resulted in decline in yield for potato crops while onion production was lower due to a significant drop in rabi acreage.

"The cost of the home-cooked vegetarian thali has been on the rise since November 2023 due to rising prices of vegetables. Tomatoes, onions and potatoes have been the key contributors to this rise as adverse weather conditions have impacted their supply," said Pushan Sharma, Director - Research, CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics.

There was a huge jump in tomato price during the 2023 monsoon season. It had skyrocketed over Rs 350 per kg in some retail markets during July-August 2023.

Last year, tomato prices eased post September. Analysts see similar trend building up this year as well.

“Going forward, thali prices are expected to be lower on-year due to the high base of last fiscal, when tomato prices had surged. Sequentially, though, tomato prices will rise before correcting at the end of August as fresh supplies arrive from southern and western states,” said Sharma.

A dip in acreage, resulting in subdued arrivals, led to a 13% year-on-year increase in the price of rice during the month of June, while a dry spell in key kharif months impacted production of pulses, leading to a price increase of 22% during the month under review.

As per the Department of Consumer Affairs data, average retail price of arhar dal soared to Rs 163.59 on July 5, which is 2.88% higher when compared with the same date last month. Prices of gram dal, wheat and rice have also soared. High food prices are likely to keep the headline retail inflation at elevated levels in the coming months.  

Published 05 July 2024, 22:14 IST

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