Tomatoes rationed in Coimbatore to prevent bulk purchase

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: Agricultural department has implemented a rationing system to prevent bulk purchase of tomato at Uzhavar Sandhais (farmers’ markets). A consumer will be sold up to 2 kg of tomatoes.

For events, consumers must produce documents like invitation at the administrative offices of Uzhavar Sandhais and purchase up to 5 kg.

Speaking to TNIE, K Sundharavadivel, Deputy Director of Agri Marketing and Business, said, “Price of tomatoes have gone up due to reduced arrival of stock. On an average, we used to receive 25-27 tonnes of tomato to seven Uzhavar Sandhais in Coimbatore. On Thursday, we received of 15,130 kg (15 tonnes). As rains have hit the arrival of load, we have implemented the ration system to sell the vegetable to the public at a lower price.” The restrictions would be in force till regular supply returns, he added.

“As the arrival has dropped, traders started visiting the farms directly to procure. However, we have instructed farmers who have registered with us to bring the tomatoes to Uzhavar Sandhai so that they get a good price for their produce and the public gets it at lower price,” Sundharavadivel said.

While the Uzhavar Sandhai price stood at Rs 70-75 per kg, in Coimbatore, tomato retailed at `120 on Thursday.

S Nachimuthu, a farmer in Madukkarai who cultivated tomatoes in three fourth of an acre, said, “During normal times, we harvest a minimum of 150 boxes (15 kg per box) once in two days. Now, the yield is reduced to 15-20 boxes due to rain. I was offered Rs 600 per box (Rs 40 per kg) by a trader on Thursday. I have spent around Rs 1.5 lakh for cultivation. I have yet to recover the money in the third month of cultivation despite the rise in price.”

P Kandasamy, general secretary of farmers association (non-political), said, “The tomato price has escalated in retail shops. In contrast, no wholesale trader was ready to procure tomato from farmers at MGR Market in Coimbatore on Thursday. Increased arrival from Mysuru and other areas led to farmers stocking produce for auctioning on Friday.”

K Nowshath, a wholesale commission business trader of tomato in the MGR Market, said, “We have procured from farmers by paying up to Rs 800 a box. On Thursday, eight loads arrived from Mysuru, Kolhakpur and Hozur. Local farmers too had brought the produce. Now, there is no more reduced arrival of the vegetable. If we bought it for Thursday’s price, we would face a loss while selling it to traders. We have to first clear the stocks at hand. The loads bought to the market on Thursday were asked to wait for auctioning on Friday.”

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