Tomato traded at Rs 8-10 two weeks ago, said Subhah Chugh, president of Tomato and Vegetable Traders Association at Azadpur mandi.
“Increased supply from neighbouring states and poor demand from hotels, restaurants, hostels, canteen and banquet halls, which account for over 50% of the buyers are the major reasons,” Chugh said.
Demand from hotels, which bought 50 kg to 300 kg a day to make soups, gravies and salad has fallen 50-60%. Tomato and onion consumption at hostels has also crashed as 1.5-2 million students have gone back home, traders said.
Onion prices have halved in the past two to three weeks, said Ram Baran of Shri Ram Trading Co in Azadpur mandi. He said traders could only sell half the daily arrivals in the mandi. “Hotels, restaurants and institutions are not fully operational. Consumer buying is also less,” he said.
Traders were also losing out wholesale buyers in Uttar Pradesh who have started directly buying from the onion growing states, said Moti Lal of PM Onion Trading Co. "Buyers in other states save Rs 2-3 a kg on direct purchases from the growing states. This is a big loss for us,” he said.
Traders rued that the current restrictions imposed by the Azadur APMC on the number of buyers and time limit for trucks was also discouraging buyers.
Migration of the street vendors to their states is also a challenge. “Unorganised street vendors were major buyers of tomato from the mandi,” said Ajay Kataria of AP Sons in the Azadpur mandi.
At the Azadpur market, the administration has limited the number of buyers by giving 1,000-1,200 tokens a day besides restricting the time of trucks to 6-8 hours. “Those not following the rules are fined. With fewer number of labourers, it is not possible to do sales, transact and load trucks in the limited time, thereby deterring buyers,” said Anil Malhotra, member of the Azadpur APMC.
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1 Comment on this Story
Devidas Telakat239 days ago
Market economics is not the answer.It is basically exploitative and unequal.Set up co-operatives for storing and marketing perishables at fair prices keeping middlemen out.