Govt to 'look into' tomato prices; to be tough on hoardings

"Let me have a look at it," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said when asked whether tomato exports would also be banned like onion's, as its prices have shot up.

"Tomato export is allowed under the Open General Licence (OGL) But it is very small. Even, the domestic production is mostly consumed within the local growing area ... But it is not the same as onion," Khullar said in the presence of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

In the case of onion, exports were about 1.8 million tonnes against the total domestic production of 12 million tonnes. However, the tomato exports were only 1 lakh tonne in relation to the total production of 12 million tonne.

Tomato prices have shot up to Rs 40 a kg in the retail markets in different cities, including the national capital. It was selling at Rs 15-20 in the second week of this month, traders said.

Some traders attributed the price rise to exports to Pakistan.

On price increase in other vegetables like garlic and whether there was a cartel, Sharma said, "there have been speculative hoardings. The state authorities will have to act firmly ... We are not going to allow it."

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