Farmers lose as tomato prices fall

A few months back, there was a good market for the growers

Matter of concern Farmers filling the crates with  tomatoes to be sent to the market near Palya village in  Srinivaspur taluk. DH photo

However, with a sudden fall in the prices of tomatoes, the farmers are now facing a lot of hardships.

Tomatoes are the main crop in Srinivapsur taluk. They are specially cultivated in the fields which are supported by borewells for irrigation. Infact, in the last few months, the crop fetched a good price in the market. Encouraged by the good income, the farmers had extended the area of tomato cultivation in Srinivaspur taluk.
The various stages of tomato cultivation is visible in most of the fields of Srinivaspur taluk. The crop which ushered in good profit to the growers is now responsible for their woes.

Great challenge
Earlier, a 15 kg crate of tomatoes costed somewhere between Rs 300 to Rs 400. The purchase of tomatoes, which was priced so high, infact proved to be a great challenge to the customers to buy them.
However, things are drastically changed now. The same 15 kg box of tomatoes, now costs somewhere between Rs 15 to Rs 50. At this rate, it was even difficult to cover up the cost of tomato plucking. The coolies who pluck tomatoes cannot even be paid decently, expresses farmer from Palya village P M Venkatesh Reddy.
Only a few could make some quick bucks, when the tomato prices were good. But, this does not mean that they would recover back the capital invested in the present circumstances.

Major share
The wages for plucking the tomatoes, hiring of crates, transportation cost and commission, all these would take a major share of whatever profit is earned. The grower is left with nothing, but peanuts!, says farmer from Maniganahalli village N Shrirama Reddy ruefully.

Upset by the drop in the prices of tomatoes, some of the farmers are expressing their vent by clearing up their fields where tomato crops which were still yielding were destroyed.

The farmers are forced to clear up the ripe tomatoes to the nearest market, since, the rotting tomatoes spoiled the soil in the fields and the farmers have no other option but to clear them off. They are now reeling under the heat of zero earnings.

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