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FRUITS & VEGETABLE

Demand for puree up as rains cause tomato prices to surge to Rs 100/kg
Saturday, 29 July, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The rise in the price of tomatoes to as much as Rs 100 per kg, due to the crop damage following rains in the growing areas, has created an additional demand for alternatives like tomato puree/ketchup to the extent of 40-45 per cent in the last few weeks.

This was stated in a paper released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), which added that homemakers had resorted to the use of these substitutes to balance household budgets in the face of no immediate relief in sight for the key ingredient for the Indian cuisine.

Interactions with traders in the mandis (markets) in major cities like Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad have indicated that the tomato prices may not immediately ease, as flooding in some of the growing states has led to damage to the crop.

Unlike onions and potatoes, the shelf life for tomatoes is very short, and it needs cold chains and modern warehouses for storage and transportation. On the back of the rising demand, the grocers have increased the stock of tomato puree and ketchup, as homemakers are quite sensitive to any price rise.

The paper stated, “Most of the Indian curries, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, need a large quantity of tomatoes. Moreover, the raw material costs of dishes in hotels and restaurants have been increased.”

“The frequent volatility in the prices of fruits and vegetables underscores the need for the creation of a well-equipped supply chain in this segment. Both the Centre and the states should extend liberal sops for investment in cold chains and refrigerated infrastructure,” said D S Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM.  
 
“A majority of the respondents said that they had curtailed the use of tomatoes, and prefer dishes like lady’s finger or pumpkin, which do not require much use of the fruit. Some stated that they were substituting tomatoes with raw mangoes to get that sour taste,” added the paper.
 
“As per reports, the lack of rains in the tomato-growing areas of Maharashtra and other states have had a huge impact on the arrivals of the fruit in the mandis,” added the paper. The maximum impact was felt in Delhi and the NCR, followed by Mumbai.
 
The prices of tomatoes will increase further in the coming months, if adequate safeguards are not taken immediately.
 
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