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IN: After strawberry and dragon fruit, Uttar Pradesh hosts 'tomato festival'

February is emerging as a month of fruit and vegetable festivals in Uttar Pradesh. After festivals of strawberry, sweet potato and dragon fruit, the Yogi Adityanath government is hosting 'Tomato Festival' in Varanasi to promote the consumption of tomato, its dishes, drinks and varied products.

According to the government spokesman, the date for the 'Tomato festival' will be finalized soon. The famous 'Banarasi Tamatar chaat' will be the main attraction of the event.

The fest, aims at increasing tomato consumption in hospitality sector besides attracting agro and food processing industries, which will be a boon for farmers who struggle due to massive fluctuation in prices every year.

District horticulture officer, Sandeep Kumar Gupta, said, "Tomato and onion are two vegetable that witness massive price fluctuation. When the prices start rising, there is massive hue and cry. But, mostly the price of tomato does not rise and farmers are compelled to sell it for Rs 3-Rs 10 per kg. Risk for tomato growers is also high as it is perishable and cannot be stored for long."

As per rough estimates, tomato is cultivated in over 5,000 hectare in Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Naugarh belt of Chandauli, Ghazipur and Varanasi, and on an average 350 quintal of hybrid tomato is produced per hectare, said Gupta. "It is a good move of the government and will help increasing local and industrial consumption of tomato which will ensure good price for farmers," he added.

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