press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
Bumper harvests in local farms coupled with huge inflow from neighbouring States saw tomato prices plummeting in the Velanthavalam market, which controls vegetable distribution in central Kerala. Priced over Rs.17 for a kilogram till last week, all varieties of tomato have become dirt cheap over the last three days.
According to farmers, good rains yielded bumper crops in the farms of Vadakarapathi, Eruthempathy and Kozhinjampara grama panchayats. Hybrid varieties from Andhra, Mysore, Ottamchathram, Pazhani, Dindigual and Erode also flooded the market. The Velanthavalam market has been witnessing the arrival of over 60 tonnes of tomatoes a day for the last one week. It was hardly 30 tonnes in the previous week.
The farm gate price of a 15-kg box of tomatoes has plummeted to Rs.60 this week in the tomato farms of the three panchayats. Many farmers are allowing the ripe tomatoes to rot to avoid labour charges for plucking them.
According to K. Sivapraksha, a farmer from Eruthempathy, the expense for cultivating an acre of tomato would come around Rs.50,000. Transportation to Velanthavalam is an additional cost.
Many farmers have taken huge bank loans.
“Tomato cultivation is profitable only if the farm price of a 15-kg box fetches at least Rs.120. Currently, we are not able to meet the expenses of farming,” said M. Shanmughan, another framer from the region.
“The production is high when compared with previous years. Better irrigation facilities and unexpected rains have contributed to the high yield,” said M. Sashikumar, a merchant at Velanthavalam.
From : The Hindu