Tomato prices in India have surged by over 400% due to a widespread shortage caused by severe weather conditions throughout this year’s tomato season. The steep increase, which occurred in recent weeks, has made this common ingredient in Indian cuisine largely unaffordable for many low-income households.
The price increase, from 40 INR (0.54 USD / as of July 12) per kilogram to an excess of 160 INR (2.16 USD) per kilogram, is a harsh blow to households in major cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Traders warn that the price may climb even higher to 200 INR (2.7 USD) per kilogram in the coming days as more crops get spoiled due to recent heavy monsoon rains.
Unusually high rainfall during this year’s tomato season has led to the devastation of crops and the spread of a lethal fungal disease. Although July is typically a costlier month for tomato purchases due to it falling between harvest seasons, consumers claim they’ve never witnessed prices this inflated.
The crisis has had widespread effects, reaching even fast-food outlets such as McDonald’s. In their outlets across north, east, and south India, McDonald’s has stopped adding tomatoes to their burgers and other dishes due to the shortage. The seasonal crop issues arising out of farm fields in a few regions meant there were “not enough quantities meeting our quality specifications,” a McDonald’s spokesperson in north India confirmed.
Several small-scale tomato farmers have described this season as one of the most devastating in terms of production and profit.
Other essential crops, including onions, ginger, and chilies, are also facing escalating prices due to similar weather-related issues. It could take up to three months for supplies and prices to stabilize, according to traders. This will likely add to the growing discontent among consumers, who are already grappling with rising prices due to inflation and dissatisfaction with the government’s response.
1 Tomato crisis hits India as rain ravages crops and prices rise 400% – The Guardian – July 10, 2023
Featured image credit: The Watchers (stock photo)
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