The Department of Consumer Affairs has further lowered prices of subsidised tomatoes to ₹70/kg from ₹80/kg so that market rates also get reduced and the common man get some relief from high prices. The new rates will be effective from July 20 across the country where the sales are continuing.

The Centre started selling tomatoes at a subsidised rate of ₹90 a kg from July 14 in Delhi-NCR and some select places in Uttar Pradesh through the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED). The price was lowered to ₹80/kg on July 16.

The all-India average retail prices of tomatoes is ruling at nearly ₹120 per kg as on July 19, according to the Consumer Affairs Ministry data. The highest rate was ₹245 per kg recorded at Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan and the lowest rate was ₹40 per kg at many places in North-eastern States such as Assam, Tripura and Mizoram

In the national capital, the rate has come down to ₹120/kg from a high of ₹200/kg a week ago. Among other metros, tomatoes were selling at ₹155 per kg in Mumbai, ₹132 per kg in Chennai and ₹143 per kg in Kolkata.

On the government’s direction, NCCF and Nafed had commenced the procurement of tomato from mandis in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra for simultaneous disposal in major consumption centres where retails prices have recorded maximum increase in last one month, the ministry said in a statement. A total of 391 tonnes of tomato have been procured by the two agencies, so far.

Prices of the vegetable normally shoot up during July-August and October-November periods, which are generally lean production months. Supply disruption due to excessive rains and a production shortfall is considered main reasons for the spiralling prices.

Out of target area of 4.97 lakh hectare (lh) in rabi season, 4.64 (lh) got sown as compared with 4.96 lh in 2021-22. However, against the target area of 2.62 lh for kharif tomato during 2023-24, 0.91 lh has been covered so far, against 0.90 lh in the year-ago period, the Agriculture Ministry said July 17.