Karnataka farmers dump tomatoes on road | Bengaluru News – Times of India


KOLAR/BENGALURU: Many roadsides in Kolar district give an impression that they have been painted red. The red though is no road design but the result of distressed tomato growers dumping their produce in desperation.
For two seasons now, tomato growers from Kolar district are at the receiving end of either the lockdowns or the rainy and humid weather.
Left with no buyers during the lockdowns, the farmers were forced to reduce the prices and many of them preferred to dump the produce by the roadside or allowed the crop to wither away in the fields. When the latest lockdown was lifted and the price of a 15 kg box of tomatoes went up from Rs 30-50 to Rs 150-200, the recent rain and continued humid conditions are turning the spoiler. The price of the box is now down to Rs 50-80.
According to CR Srinath, proprietor of CMR Tomato Mandi in Kolar, said the weather conditions prevailing in Kolar district have affected the crop at many places. Black spots were found on tomatoes and buyers were reluctant to purchase the crop.
He said West Bengal, a major consumer of tomatoes grown in Kolar, is experiencing heavy rain during the last few days. The rain has washed away many roads which affected transportation of tomatoes. As against 45 hours usually taken to reach West Bengal, trucks are now requiring nearly 60 hours to cover the same distance and thus affecting the quality of tomatoes. At many places in West Bengal, tomatoes are lying in trucks as rain has hindered the unloading process in markets, he said.
Vinay, assistant director (technical), horticulture department, said the dampness in the atmosphere has hit the quality of tomatoes. He said the bouts of drizzle that occurred in the district over the last few days has resulted in the plants developing black fungus. He said as the season is coming to a close, farmers are harvesting the last pickings which normally lack quality and farmers are dumping them on the roadside, he said.
The retail price of tomato in Kolar is about Rs 10 per kg. Vegetable traders in Bengaluru though have a different tale to tell. They admit the size of tomatoes aren’t as big as they used to be but their retail price is fluctuating between Rs 16 and Rs 18 per kilogram.
An employee from Hopcoms said: “The cost has not dropped below Rs 10 in a long time. If the retail price of a good-quality tomato is Rs 18 per kilo, the farmer should get Rs 12. The government also facilitates more markets for farmers to be able to sell their produce.”

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