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'Tomato' hits century in Odisha's vegetable markets
Tomato – It might be a high class family or BPL family, but the red vegetable plays a vital role in the kitchens of Odisha.

Tomato is one of the most important "protective foods" because of its special nutritive value. It is one of the most versatile vegetables with wide usage in Indian culinary tradition. Tomatoes are used for soup, salads, pickles, ketchup, puree, sauces and in many other ways. Tomato has very few competitors in the value addition chain of processing.

Though Odisha is the second largest producer of tomato in India, the hike in its price has hit the local markets and put the normal life of consumers out of gear. Normally, prices of tomato firm up in the off-season of June-September every year, but the sharp increase in rates this time has mainly been due to the damage caused to the rabi crop because of severe drought.

During early May 2017, the prices were normal per kilo. But as time passed, the rates gradually increased day-by-day. And now, they have increased to hit a century. Prices of tomato have crossed the Rs 100 mark in local markets while in retail outlets the price has gone up to Rs 120 per kg. 

Due to short supply of the vegetable, its prices have skyrocketed to Rs 80 per kg from Rs 30 per kg about a fortnight ago. About two months ago, the price of tomato was between Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kilo. After the steep price hike, the necessary ingredient has gone off the menu from most of the household kitchens, while restaurants and food joints are the worst affected as they are having to compromise on the taste.

Commonly used vegetables, including brinjal, lady's finger, radish, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, cow pea, beetroot and carrot are being sold at Rs 40 per kg. Only the price of teasel gourd has come down to Rs 30 from Rs 60 per kg since week. 

Prices of pointed gourd and plantain are moderate at Rs 30 per kg while cabbage and pumpkin are selling at Rs 20 per kg.

During mid February, the prices of tomato were hovering around Rs 10 to 15 per kilo, but lack of storage facilities in the state is another main reason for the problem faced by the farmers every year. 

However, the consumers have alleged that traders have stocked the vegetables for creating artificial scarcity to make fast bucks.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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