Tomato prices have crashed to Rs 1-2 per kg while onions have fallen to about Rs 8 per kg in Delhi’s wholesale market because of weak demand and strong supply in the harvest season, which will keep prices low, traders said. Direct purchases from farmers have also hit wholesalers.
Tomatoes traded at Rs 8-10 two weeks ago, said Subhah Chugh, president of Tomato and Vegetable Traders Association. The increased supply from neighbouring states, coupled with the poor demand from hotels, restaurants, hostels and canteens, which account for over 50% of the buyers are the major reasons," Chugh said.
Demand from hotels, which bought 50 kg to 300 kg a day to make soups, gravies and salad has fallen 50-60%. Tomato and onion consumption at hostels has also crashed as 1.5-2 million students have gone back home, traders said.
Onion prices have halved in the past two to three weeks, said Ram Baran of Shri Ram Trading Co in Azadpur mandi. He said traders could only sell half the daily arrivals in the mandi. "Hotels, restaurants and institutions are not fully operational. Consumer buying is also less," he said.
Traders were also losing out wholesale buyers in Uttar Pradesh who have started directly buying from the onion growing states, said Moti Lal of PM Onion Trading Co. "Buyers in other states save Rs 2-3 a kg on direct purchases from the growing states. This is a big loss for us," he said.
[ Rs 100 = €1.20 ]