Tomatoes to cumin: Soaring prices put pressure on kitchen bills

The hike in prices will continue as the supply remains affected, claimed those in the business

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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The rising prices of tomatoes, ginger, chillies, and cumin are putting a strain on household budgets.

On Monday, tomatoes cost Rs 130 per kg at Delhi's Azadpur mandi, Asia's largest wholesale market, up from Rs 100 on Friday.

According to traders, this is expected to raise retail prices to Rs 170-180 per kg this week, with prices potentially crossing the Rs 200 mark.

Ginger, a basic ingredient in Indian cooking, now costs Rs 320 per kg at retail, up from Rs 200 a month ago, as supplies from Karnataka have been reduced due to unseasonal rains that have damaged the crop.

The ongoing unrest in Manipur has also reduced the state's supply of ginger.

At Gujarat's Unjha Mandi, cumin costs around Rs 55,750/quintal. Cumin prices have risen sharply due to strong domestic and export demand and a scarcity of supply due to lower yields in the two main producing states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. A three-year low carryover stock of Rs 50,000-60,000 tonnes has added to the supply pressure.

The northern states are now reliant on Himachal Pradesh for supplies, said Ashok Kaushik, president of the Tomato Traders Association at Azadpur.

"Supply from Maharashtra is also less because the crop there has been affected due to erratic weather conditions," he added.

Tomato production in eastern states has also been impacted due to heat waves. Tomato at the retail level is now selling at Rs 150–160 per kg, and the prices are unlikely to soften immediately. 

"Demand is reducing as consumers are not buying because of high prices. If this trend continues, then there might be a small decline in prices," said Kaushik.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the BJP-led central government for overlooking the issue of price rise that is impacting households.

"Prices of daily essentials have risen across India. The Prime Minister does not care about it. The BJP is not bothered about it. Tomato prices in Maharashtra are Rs 130 per kg. In Karnataka, it is Rs 140 per kg and in Delhi, it is Rs 150 per kg," she added.

First Published: Jul 04 2023 | 12:39 PM IST

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