KOLAR: Anjinappa, a farmer in Hosamatnahalli, Kolar taluk, has allowed his tomato crop on three acres of land to wither after finding that the produce will not fetch a price to cover the expense of growing and marketing it. He even used a tractor rotary to destroy part of the crop.
Like Anjinappa, hundreds of farmers in Kolar have allowed their tomato crops to wither. They say they would spend more money on labour and other expenses to harvest the crop than they would get for it in the market. Some farmers have dumped produce on the roadside. Tomato is grown on nearly 20,000 hectares in the district and over 35,000 quintals arrive at the APMC yard every day.
Over the past few days, a 15kg box of medium quality tomatoes has fetched a price of Rs 40 to Rs 60 at the APMC yard in Kolar. However, good quality tomatoes are being sold at around Rs 200 per box, said Vijayalakshmi, secretary of Kolar APMC. A month back, a 15kg box of medium quality tomato sold at the yard for Rs 1,200. The low procurement price is being attributed to fall in demand in northern states which are the largest consumers of the staple.
Since many norther n states are experiencing heavy rain, demand has decreased considerably. Even transportation to these states is a problem since many roads have been washed away and it would take longer to transport goods by road, said one trader at the APMC yard in Kolar. CR Srinath, proprietor of CM Ramaiah Tomato Mandi in Kolar, said arrival of produce at the APMC is normal, but prices are low, and farmers are finding it difficult to get back even transportation costs.
Nalini Gowda, district president of the women’s wing of Raitha Sangha, urged the state government to announce a minimum support price of Rs 10 per kg. She said a farmer spends about Rs 1.5 lakh to grow tomatoes on one acre of land and if there is a lack of remunerative price, there is no alternative but to destroy the crop.