A lucky farmer in India earned over INR 2 crores in additional income amidst a food crisis and tomato shortage.
The skyrocketing tomato prices in India have led to eight-fold profits for farmers. Data from the Indian food ministry shows tomato retail prices in Delhi reaching INR 178 per kilogram, a staggering 700% jump since the beginning of the year, with the national average close to INR 120.
Heavy Rains, Limited Supply
The price surge was caused by heavy rains disrupting tomato supplies, prompting concerns among consumers who have cut back on purchasing this essential ingredient in Indian cuisine. Nevertheless, tomato growers like Ishwar Gaykar and his wife Sonali have benefited immensely.
The couple, farming tomatoes on a 12-acre land in Maharashtra, witnessed their profits rise to INR 24 million this season, compared to just INR 1.5 million last year.
They have become the largest tomato suppliers in their region, and Ishwar has gained local celebrity status, sought after by the media for interviews.
Transportation disruptions caused by heavy monsoon rains and floods have severely affected tomato supply in India, leading to increased inflation for other vegetables as well.
To tackle the issue, the Indian government has started selling tomatoes at subsidized rates through mobile vans at various locations. However, prices still remain exorbitant for consumers in the country of 1.4 billion people.
Many farmers, like Mahendra Nikam, who earned INR 130 per kilogram for his tomatoes in Surat, express surprise at the unprecedented rates, recalling a time when they were forced to discard tomatoes or feed them to cattle due to low prices.
Crop Thefts & Rising Crimes
In an unfortunate turn of events, Amid the ongoing tomato crisis and soaring prices in India, a tragic incident occurred in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh.
Narem Rajasekhar Reddy, a 62-year-old tomato farmer, was allegedly murdered after selling 70 crates of tomatoes from his farm, earning a profit of ₹30 lakh.
The incident took place on Tuesday night when Rajasekhar Reddy went to the village to pour milk and never returned.
His bike and mobile were found in the middle of the road, and later, his body was discovered under a tree, tied up. The police suspect that the assailants targeted him to rob the money he earned from the tomatoes.
The increasing tomato prices have also resulted in the theft of tomato crops from local farmers. Some McDonald’s outlets in various regions of India have even removed tomatoes from their burgers and wraps due to quality concerns.
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