Tomato prices in the retail markets of the national capital continue to rule high in the range of Rs 60-80/kg despite the government's measures to boost tomato puree supply via Mother Dairy's Safal outlets. Tomato prices have come under pressure in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) due to supply disruption owing to heavy rains in producing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. As per the data maintained by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the average retail price of tomato was at Rs 60/kg on Thursday, up from Rs 45/kg on October 1, this year.
However, the key kitchen staple was being sold at up to Rs 80/kg in the unorganised sector, depending on the quality and locality. The prices have remained firm at higher levels in the last one week despite the central government intervention.
On October 10, the centre had asked state-run Mother Dairy to sell tomato puree at Rs 25 for 200 gram pack (equivalent to 800 grams of fresh tomato) and at Rs 85 for 825 gram pack (equivalent to 2.5 kilos of fresh tomato) through its 400-odd Safal outlets.
"Fresh tomato taste is different from puree. We don't use puree for daily cooking purpose. Tomato prices have gone up and we are buying in small quantities," said a consumer Meena Agarwal who buys vegetables from a Safal outlet in Jangpura Extension here.
Similar sentiment was shared by consumers in other parts of the city.
Experts said not many people are used to tomato puree and will take a long time for consumers to shift to processed ones suddenly in times of price rise.
Even 'dried onions' has not gained much acceptance. To some extent, 'garlic-ginger paste' has picked up well, they added.
Meanwhile, the centre has asked tomato producing states to augment the supply to deficit regions, including Delhi, thereby improving availability and moderating prices.
Tomato producing states have been regularly advised to interact with agricultural produce market committees (APMCs), traders and transporters to ensure regular supply.
The same is being reiterated to four major tomato producing states namely, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, to ensure prices normalise and supply is augmented immediately.
Normally, tomato production is around 20 million tonnes a year. Tomato is a year-long crop and the country has enough supply to meet its requirement.