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Tomato at Re 1 per kg, Chitradurga farmers dump produce by roadside- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHITRADURGA/CHALLAKERE: A sharp fall in prices of tomatoes forced farmers to dump their produce at the tomato market in Chikkammanahalli village of Challakere taluk in Chitradurga district on Friday. 

Tomatoes, which were sold for Rs 100 per kg in May this year, saw a sharp fall in prices and traders were not willing to pick up a box of tomatoes, containing 15 kg, even for Rs 10. Frustrated farmers dumped tomatoes by the side of National Highway 150A and then ran tractors over them. Lack of processing units in the region too has been affecting tomato growers. As tomatoes hit record-high prices recently, a large number of farmers from Kallahalli, Torekolammanahalli, Nayakanahatti and other areas had sown the crop. But with good yields and glut in the market, prices have hit the rock bottom. 

Maruthesh, a farmer from Kallahalli, said, “I have grown tomatoes in four acres and the yield is good. On Friday, I harvested 150 boxes, but traders quoted Rs 10 per box. I decided to dump the tomatoes next to the Bidar-Srirangapatna Highway. I have not been able to recover my investment and now, I have a debt of Rs 4 lakh.”

People passing on the road, truck drivers and others were seen stopping and picking tomatoes from the dump. Another farmer Ravikumar from Kereyagalahalli said, “I have taken loans running into lakhs from banks to grow tomatoes. I am not even plucking the fruit because of low prices.”

Senior Assistant Director of Horticulture, Challakere, Virupakshappa said, “Good quality tomatoes are sold for Rs 60-70 per box, which comes to Rs 4.60 per kg, while the round ones are sold for Rs 10-15 per, which is just Rs 1 per kg. It does not even meet the cost of production.” He said,

“On Thursday, the price was around Rs 140 per box. Even at that price, the production cost is not met, but at least there was some solace for farmers. Chikkammanahalli has the largest tomato market in central Karnataka. Tomatoes grown in Kudligi, Ballari, Molakalmuru, Chitradurga, Hiriyur, Rayadurga, Sira, Challakere and other places are brought here. The produce is sent to Bengaluru, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.” 
 

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