Tomato prices may shoot up as rains damage crop in Himachal

Shimla: After vegetable crop getting damaged now tomatoes are going to drill a hole in consumers’ pockets in the coming months as incessant rains have destroyed at least 60 percent of the crop in Himachal Pradesh.

Trade representatives said 60-70 percent of the crop in the state had perished, pushing up prices in north Indian cities.

‘More than 60 percent of the crop in tomato-growing belts in Solan, Shimla, Mandi, Sirmaur, Bilaspur and Kullu was damaged due to excess rainfall,’ Agriculture Joint Director R.K. Saroya said.

Himachal Pradesh is a major tomato-producing state of the region. Tomato is grown in about 1,024 hectares in the state. In 2009-10, the total production was 338,240 tonnes.

Saroya said the maximum crop damage was witnessed during incessant rainfall in most of tomato-growing pockets from Sep 21-23.

‘There is hardly any healthy crop to reach the market,’ he added.

Govind Ram, a tomato farmer near Solan town, said this monsoon caused a lot of damage.

‘In August the crop damage percentage was 30-40 percent. This month it rose up to 70 percent. The excessive rains also took a toll on other vegetable crops including cabbage, capsicum and beans,’ he added.

An official of the agriculture department said most of the remaining crop in the state was hit by the fungus disease buckeye rot and bacteria-caused leaf spot.

Sellers at the Solan wholesale vegetable market said tomato prices would again shoot up due to low supply.

The wholesale price of tomato, which fell marginally to Rs.30 a kg last week, was Rs.35 a kg  on Saturday and would further increase to Rs.40-45 in the coming festive season.

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