Current tomato prices are troubling for Indian government

Tomato prices are surging in India, which is quite upsetting for the nation's politicians, as vegetable prices historically can lead to the toppling of governments in the country. The average retail price of tomatoes in India has jumped 70% from a month ago and 168% from a year earlier to 69 cents a kilogram as of May 31, according to data compiled by the food ministry.

Soaring food prices, including those of tomatoes, may also have a political impact as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is set to face voters at the end of the year in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, a campaign that will set the tone for his re-election for a third time in 2024.

During Modi's 2018 campaign, he famously said farmers are his 'top' priority, explaining that 'TOP' means "Tomato, Onion, and Potato."

However, there is a shortage of tomatoes currently. A Mumbai vegetable vendor said he is now selling tomatoes at about $1.03 a kilogram, up from as much as 65 cents two months ago.

Mango prices are also rising in some areas after unusually hot weather slashed output. Prices of the popular Himsagar variety have doubled in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, from 65 cents last year. Production of mangoes has slumped by about 40% in the state, partly due to heat waves in previous weeks.


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