Tomato price increase not due to cartel of traders: Govt

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Tomatos
New Delhi, Dec 12: The government today said high volatility in retail prices of kitchen staple tomato is not due to hoarding by traders' cartel but because of seasonal factors.

"No such issue about the cartel of traders stocking. But there is high fluctuation of prices of perishable items like tomatoes," Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas said during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

Prices of tomato have largely been affected by the seasonality factor, he said.

The general trend shows that the prices tend to move upwards during the September-November period. However, there was no increase in tomato prices during the last week of October till the first week of November, he added.

Replying to a supplementary, the minister further said that there was fluctuation in tomato prices because supplies were affected due to strike in Andhra Pradesh, the main growing state.

In Delhi wholesale market, tomato prices were ruling Rs 11 per kg on December 9, a week before it was ruling higher at Rs 13 per kg and a month back prices were as high as Rs 33 per kg, he said reflecting price volatility.

Replying to another supplementary, the minister said that the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation has taken up a market intervention scheme through the Horticulture Department to protect the growers if prices fall below the economic cost.

The minister also said that the Food Processing Ministry also provides funds through a scheme to construct cold storages and also for manufacturing value-added products from vegetables like tomato and others.

PTI

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