Visakhapatnam: The horticulture department officials are preparing an action plan to check on the tomato crisis in the rainy season. The tomato crop area will be increased in the three districts - Vizag, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam of North Andhra Pradesh. Farmers will be advised to take up cultivation of tomatoes at different times of rabi and kharif season and high-quality seeds will be provided.
Tomato prices are touching even Rs 100 whenever there is low supply from Kolar region of Karnataka, Bengaluru and Madanapalle in Chittoor.
Two months ago, tomatoes were selling at retail outlets for `20 a kilo or even less.
Today, a kilo of tomatoes was sold for Rs 50 at the rythu bazaars in Vizag city and the price was between Rs 60 and Rs 80 in the open markets. Vizag requires at least 16 to 20 tonnes of tomatoes per day. But now, Vizag receives only four to five tonnes. As Vizag mostly depends on the supply from other regions, the prices vary on the demand and supply says an officer with horticulture department.
At presently the area under tomato cultivation in Vizag district is around 600 hectares and it will be increased to around 1,800 hectares by one year. Most of the farmers in the region grow tomatoes between August and January only so that the price turns dearer in other seasons.
“Apart from the increasing the tomato cultivation area, we have advised the farmers to take up the crop in different seasons to bring down the demand and supply gap says assistant director of horticulture K. Sailaja.
A senior officer in Vizianagaram district said that unlike potato and onion, tomatoes have a short shelf life. “The absence of adequate cold storage facilities in the supply chain has aggravated the problem. So we have requested the government to set up cold storages in North Andhra region for the benefit of farmers and consumers,” he added.