August , 2023
Unravelling the Surge: Understanding the Hike in Tomato Prices in India
17:27 pm

Dr. Sumi Goswami

The recent skyrocketing price hike of tomato in India left the countrymen and economy in shock. This surge has impacted households, restaurants, and food industries across the country. In this article, we talk about the whys and wherefores behind the recent hike in prices and its potential inferences on the economy and consumers.

According to Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare statistics, the States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, and Gujarat produce the majority of the nation’s tomatoes, accounting for close to 50% of the overall production. When the yields from the aforementioned states plus those from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Telangana are included, the total yield from the aforesaid states is nearly 90%. Now, the question that remains is: if the well-established agricultural states produce the tomato in a nation, then what occurred with the crop that caused an extremely sharp increase in the prices. So, as we know that the first batch of tomato small sampling is transplanted into raised beds between January and March, resulting in the first batch of supplies between April and June. The farmers receive superior returns on their Rabi produce. However, this year’s abrupt heat wave in March and April shocked farmers, and the cucumber and leaf curl viruses destroyed the seedlings, resulting in the majority of crops being sold in subpar condition. Therefore, bearing the unpredictability of pricing and supplies in mind, farmers sold it all, which eventually led to a shortage of fresh vegetables.

Reasons behind that we should know: 

First and foremost, reason is supply-demand imbalance. Factors like adverse weather conditions, production shortages, and transportation disruptions have led to a reduction in tomato supplies, creating a scarcity in the market. Furthermore, Extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall, flooding, and cyclones, have adversely affected tomato crops in major growing regions. Crop damage has reduced the overall harvest, leading to reduced supply and higher prices. Moreover, rising fuel prices and logistical challenges have added to the burden of transporting tomatoes from farms to markets. These increased costs are ultimately passed on to consumers, contributing to higher retail prices. Additionally, the surge in tomato prices has not necessarily translated into increased profits for farmers. During the season of tomato crop, tomatoes have been thrown in the fields or roads, Least but not last, climate variations affect the production. Tomato prices are subject to seasonal variation, with prices tending to peak during the off-season when supplies are scarce. This year-round demand for tomatoes, coupled with seasonal fluctuations, has further exacerbated the price surge.

Implications on Consumers and Economy:

Primary impact of rising tomato prices is contributed to overall inflation, impacting the cost of living for households. This inflationary pressure can lead to reduced purchasing power and negatively affect low-income families. Secondly, the food processing industry, reliant on tomatoes as a key ingredient, faces higher production costs. This may lead to a ripple effect on prices of various tomato-based products such as ketchup, sauces, and canned goods etc. Consumers need to consume vegetables according to season. Ayurveda suggest eat seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Thirdly, Restaurants and eateries are grappling with higher input costs due to the increase in tomato prices. They may either absorb the costs, leading to reduced profit margins, or pass them on to consumers through higher menu prices.


The recent hike in tomato prices in India is a multi-faceted issue that stems from supply-demand imbalances, crop damage, transportation challenges, and seasonal fluctuations. As consumers face the burden of increasing food prices, it is crucial for the government, farmers, and stakeholders in the supply chain to collaborate on solutions to stabilize prices and ensure food security. A sustainable approach, focusing on agricultural resilience and effective market mechanisms, can pave the way for a more stable and balanced tomato market in the future.

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