Why Tomato prices have increased in India | Tomato Economics

Tomato prices have skyrocketed in India, reaching as high as Rs 250 per kg in some places. This is due to a number of factors, including a poor harvest, heavy rains, and the ongoing farmer’s protests. The high prices are putting a strain on household budgets and threatening the food security of the poor. McDonald’s has even stopped using tomatoes in their burgers and wraps due to the high prices.

The government is under pressure to address the issue, but it is unclear what measures they will take. The high tomato prices in India are not just due to a simple supply and demand issue. The erratic climate trends this year, including untimely rainfall and cyclonic storms, have disrupted tomato production in southern and coastal areas.

The rapidly changing climate has resulted in a major disruption in tomato production, as tomato plants do not thrive in waterlogged conditions during the flowering and fruiting stages. India lacks climate contingency plans for key food crops and food security, leading to anarchy in the open markets.

The supply chain and post-harvest losses are also significant problems affecting our food security. The government is working on a freight subsidy scheme for the past few years to address these issues.

The TOP (Tomato, Onion, and Potato) program aims to create efficient supply chains and reduce post-harvest losses. This program provides up to 50 percent subsidies for transportation and appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops.

The government needs to assess its TOP scheme and identify why Operation Greens has failed. The government should invest in infrastructure development in tomato clusters, including decentralized cold storages, solar dryers, and cottage-level processing plants.

The government should improve connectivity in hilly areas to facilitate off-season production. The government should consider establishing a special minimum support price (MSP) for TOP crops, supported by government-led procurement.

The government should encourage direct market links between farmers and consumers. These measures would help to combat hyperinflation and food insecurity in India.

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