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Weekly Pullouts » Himachal Tribune

Posted at: Jul 7, 2018, 12:12 AM; last updated: Jul 7, 2018, 12:12 AM (IST)

Losses leave tomato growers distressed

Losses leave tomato growers distressed

Dharam Prakash Gupta

Tomato growers of the Balh area of Mandi district are worried these days as tomatoes grown by them are getting sold at as low as Rs 1 to Rs 2 per kg in the wholesale market. A good quality crate of tomatoes containing 25 kg is getting sold at Rs 70 to Rs 100 against the normal price of Rs 300 per crate, leaving the tomato growers distressed.

Farmers of the Balh area have sown tomatoes in an estimated area of about 10 hectare and the Agriculture Department was expecting a return of more than Rs 25 crore from the tomato crop this year. But with the present fall in tomato prices, the farmers may not even get 20 per cent of the estimated return.

The farmers of this area have taken to tomato cultivation in a large area and Dhaban, Kummi, Rajgarh, Khandla, Bhadyal, Behna, the lower region of Rewalsar and Nerchowk are replete with tomatoes this season.

While over production is being cited as one reason for crashing of purchase price, many are blaming commission agents for manipulating the purchase of tomato crop at a very low price to make big profits.

Tomato cultivation in this area was taken up in a big way during the past few years because it was fetching a good price in the markets of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir and in good times gave a return ranging between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per crate of 25 kg.

With a majority being marginal farmers here, many of them lured by good returns from the tomato crop had been investing money in its cultivation by renting fields, employing migrant labour in a large number, spending a good amount on the purchase of insecticides and other inputs besides putting in family labour.

One farmer, Raj Kumar, said, “I had sown the tomato crop in two bighas and was hoping to make about Rs 2 lakh this season, but it would be difficult to pay an annual rent of Rs 40,000 to the land owner and meet other expenses.”

Champa Devi of Kummi said, “I had sown tomatoes in about eight bighas on a piece of rented land, toiled very hard in the hope of good returns and was planning to build a house, but the low prices for tomatoes this season have shattered my hope. ”

Farmers say they can recover their expenses if they sell a crate of 25 kg for Rs 250. 


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