A state-owned Farm Fresh outlet in Chennai’s Teynampet has turned out to be a boon for those who were unable to buy tomatoes last week when prices crossed the Rs 100 per kg mark. At the outlet located in the heart of the city, tomatoes were available today for Rs 79- an initiative by the state of Tamil Nadu which is a welcome relief to many like Satyamurthy.
A construction worker in Chennai, Satyamurthy was avoiding purchase of tomatoes as prices rose after heavy rains lashed the state last week.
Satyamurthy, feeling relieved, said, “It is a fair price. The price of tomato in the outside market is Rs 120 a kg.”
Others, such as Arokia Marie, chose to buy only half of their tomato requirement. “I can’t even buy tomatoes at this price. The only option is to reduce consumption,” she said.
Though the outlet had a stock of 250 kg tomatoes, more than double the norm, many people like Ram could not afford them.
Ram, a computer professional, said, “It is a good initiative, but since the stock was low, I could not get them. Still, it is better than nothing.”
“The only problem is that it will not benefit the farmers but the touts and middlemen,” Ram said.
Farmers across Tamil Nadu suffered crop losses of at least 50,000 hectares due to heavy rains last week. As the state is likely to receive three days of heavy rains, the government said it will procure at least 15 metric tonnes of tomatoes every day for sale in a dozen districts to provide relief to poor consumers.
Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam said today, “The prices have started hovering around Rs 80 per kg.” He said the increase in prices was “only because of heavy rains.”
Apart from local produce, Tamil Nadu procures tomatoes from other states such as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The state agriculture minister said, “600 metric tonnes of tomatoes have arrived from Maharashtra.”