With wholesale prices of tomato touching a new low, growers in Nashik have started destroying their produce. At the Pimpalgaon Baswant wholesale market in Niphad taluka of the district, the vegetable is being sold at Rs 5-7 per kg causing distress among the growers. Prices have been dropping steadily since the past few days as kharif arrivals have picked up. The price drop comes at a time when kharif plantations in the Nashik region have grown by over 20 per cent. Last year, growers had received good prices for their produce, which had fuelled the growth.
However, with road trade suspended between Pakistan and India, growers have been reporting heavy losses. Even the Pune growers failed to realise good prices this year.
Santosh Gorade, a farmer from Takali Vinchur village in Nashik, said that many farmers have destroyed the crops this time because of low prices. Dilip Bankar, the chairman of the Pimpalgaon market, called for immediate government intervention to restart the routes so as to help facilitate exports. Bankar has written to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister seeking their intervention in the matter.
Tomato exports slumped in 2017-18 with India recording exports worth only Rs 107.21 crore compared to Rs 548.15 crore in 2016-17. Exports to Pakistan and Bangladesh, major destinations for Indian tomatoes, were especially hit. Last year, just about Rs 34 lakh worth of tomatoes were exported to Pakistan compared to Rs 368.45 crore in 2016-17.
Exports to Bangladesh last year were just Rs 4.8 crore compared to Rs 66.69 crore in 2016-17. Political tension between India and Pakistan led to the suspension of exports via land to Pakistan last year. Exports to Bangladesh were hit after the country increased the import duty on agricultural produces to 48 per cent.