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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Even as eggs continue to shower in Odisha as a tool of the on-going street political protests, tomato has set the kitchen of the middle class in the State on fire.

As the price of the vegetable hovers between Rs 80-90 per Kg at different places in Odisha, households which have been using it to enhance the culinary taste are forced to do without it.

As per reports, in Cuttack and Balasore, tomato is being sold between Rs 70 and Rs 80 per Kg. Similarly, it is being sold at Rs 70 in Berhampur while the prices are up by Rs 80 as one travels up north Soro and Balasore.

The impact of the inflationary prices rise can be gauged from the fact that the regular consumers are buying the vegetables in grams from the earlier kilos.

A customer in Balasore said, “The rate of tomato has reached Rs 80 per kilo here. Because it is a kitchen essential, we cannot completely exclude it from our diet. So I bought just 250 grams instead of my regular requirement of 1 Kg a week.”

Similarly, a customer in Berhampur said, “I bought brinjal at Rs 60 and tomato at Rs 70. It has become almost impossible for us to manage the household budget with this kind of price rise.”

If the retailers are to be believed, lack of local production has forced them to buy it from other States making it expensive. Other than that, the production of tomatoes has been hit in many places across the country including Nashik, Raipur and Bengaluru due to unseasonal rains, causing a dip in supply.

A vegetable vendor in Berhampur said, “Local tomatoes are nowhere to be seen. We have to source it from either Andhra Pradesh or Bengaluru. Once the locally grown tomatoes start reaching the market the price will come down.”

Citing crop damage due to unseasonal rains, the Secretary of Chhatra Bazaar Traders Association said, “The retail price was around Rs 100 few days back. It has come down to Rs 80 and I am sure the price will further reduce within 15-20 days.”

During this season, the Cuttack city requires 80 tonnes of tomato daily, Bhubaneswar requires 120 tonnes while in Berhampur, the daily requirement is around 90 tonnes. But the daily supply of the veggie to the State has been restricted to 50 tonnes only causing a big gap in demand and supply, ultimately raising the retail price.

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