The retail rate of tomatoes rose to Rs 50-60 per kilo across Mumbai's shopping markets on Friday, causing concern among households as the normal average is Rs 20. Buyers in Bandra's Pali Market, Khar, Andheri West and Ghatkopar were shocked to pay Rs 60 per kg for the essential item.
Traders blame heavy rainfall in the state for a shortage of the crop. APMC tomato wholesaler Mangal Gupta said, "The recent heavy rains in Maharashtra have put a spanner in the works. Flowering of local tomatoes has been adversely affected. So most of the fruit is coming from dry locations of Bangalore and Gujarat. High prices will persist for one month."
Housewives point out that firm red tomatoes are available in robust quantities, with no sign of spoilage or shortfall. Bandra resident Valerie Soans said, "I hope this price rise is not the work of a cartel that causes artificial inflation a couple of times a year. Irrespective of the government that comes to power, there seems to be no mechanism to deal with high food prices. How can we pay Rs 60 for an item as basic as tomato that is required in most vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes? Even those who do not eat onion and garlic must have tomato."
Other vegetables are also selling for 25-30% more than the average retail rate. Already coriander is off the table at Rs 20-40 per bunch. French beans are at Rs 160, green peas Rs 160-200 and cauliflower Rs 80-100. Yam, brinjal, and other common beans have become costlier too.
[ Rs 100 = €1.27 ]