Tomato prices, which have started declining after the Centre’s intervention, may see the trend continuing until mid-August before rates stabilise around ₹30/kg, according to experts. However, the current price spiral leaves many unanswered questions as whether to accept such aberrations as normal amid threat of climate change or to make some plans to prevent such abnormal surge.

“First, one has to see the reason for the price shooting up so rapidly and analyse the tomato, onion, and potato (TOP) scheme’s efficacy in tackling such situation. Whatever corrective steps are required should be taken including transferring the scheme to the Consumer Affairs Ministry from the Food Processing Ministry,” said a former horticulture commissioner.


On the other hand, Varun Khurana, founder and CEO of B2C agri-produce delivery platform Otipy, said, “To avoid such situations, controlled cultivation in greenhouses and other covered areas could be explored to reduce the dependency on open cultivation,” Khurana also said that open cultivation will always be vulnerable to the effects of heavy rains, particularly during the monsoon season. “Identifying alternative agro-climatic zones for tomato cultivation can also enhance resilience and reduce the risk of supply disruptions during heavy rainfall events,” Khurana said.

Sharing a price analysis done by Otipy, he further said the current declining trend is expected to continue, and prices may stabilise by mid-August. “It is anticipated that the prices will stabilise at around ₹30/kg range,” Khurana said.

Sharing a similar outlook, PK Gupta, director of National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), said prices may come down to ₹50/kg level in next 10 days before finally returning to the normal level. He suggested a long-term plan to popularise use of tomato puree to supplement the off-season demand, since shelf-life is a maximum 20 days in a refrigerator and it is not economically viable to use controlled atmosphere (CA) cold storage, where apples are kept.

“As the monsoon stabilises and accessibility to markets improves, prices of vegetables will likely stabilise and slowly come down as we come into the August-September window,” said Tushar Trivedi, Head of farm business,

“There is an urgent need to research pest, disease and extreme weather-resistant tomato varieties. Besides, we need to teach farmers smart agriculture to deal with such issues,” said Shailendra Singh, MD and Founder, Creduce.

Recent widespread rainfall across India, including simultaneous rain in Delhi and Mumbai two weeks ago, had an impact on tomato-growing zones in Mumbai and Kolar, Karnataka, experts said. Even North India’s tomato supply was disrupted due to landslides caused by floods in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and that contributed majorly for the surge in prices in Delhi, highest among major consuming centres.

According to Otipy’s data, tomato (hybrid) price in Delhi was average ₹75/kg between June 14 and July 14 against ₹69/kg in the year-ago period. Prices experienced a rapid surge after June 20, coinciding with impact of heavy rains on tomato cultivation.

Consumer Affairs Ministry data show retail price of tomato in Delhi started from ₹20/kg on June 14 to reach a peak of ₹178/kg on July 14 before starting to decline from July 17. Currently, it hovers around ₹120/kg, ministry data show, whereas two co-operatives are currently selling tomatoes at ₹70/kg at the government initiative.

The ministry data also show that tomato reached a peak of ₹62/kg in Delhi during first week of July 2022 and then started declining thereafter. However, though rates were between ₹30 and ₹40 in August, it again started moving in September and October to reach a peak ₹67 on October 25, 2022, which experts said was due to excessive rains coupled with festival demand.

“The price rise in vegetables in the last two months is due to unseasonal rains, crop damage and challenges growers face in the supply chain,” Trivedi said.

Promoting climate-friendly agriculture should help in a big way to ensure food safety and security, said Singh.