Price of Tomatoes and Lemons Jumps Threefold in Indian States Amid Inflation and Heatwave

© AFP 2023 / DIBYANGSHU SARKARAn Indian vegatable vendor awaits customersbehind stacks of tomatoes at a market in Bangalore on February 26, 2010
An Indian vegatable vendor awaits customersbehind stacks of tomatoes at a market in Bangalore on February 26, 2010 - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2022
There has been a 100 percent increase in consumer food prices between March 2021 and March 2022, according to the All India Consumer Price Index (CPI), that has impacted the cost of oils and fats, vegetables, meat and fish.
With temperatures soaring across the country and inflation burning a hole in Indians' pockets, the general household in India is now experiencing the sharp effect of rising prices in the kitchen.
The price of tomatoes, a staple food item in the Indian household, spiked in the southern state of Karnataka over the past week.
A local market watcher warned that in the coming days, the impact is most likely to be experienced in neighbouring states too.
Currently, the price of tomatoes in the state's capital city -- Bengaluru -- ranges between INR 70 and INR 80 (around $1-1.05) per kilogram. A local expert estimates that the price hasn't peaked yet.
Generally, tomatoes are sold for around INR 25 ($0.33) per kg.
Speaking to Sputnik, Umesh Mirji, Managing Director of Horticultural Producers' Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS) in Karnataka, stated that presently the primary reason behind tomatoes' price rise is a "shortage in supply".

"The production of tomatoes from the neighbouring state of Maharashtra had come down as crops were impacted due high temperatures," Mirji said.

However, Mirji also pointed out that prices of vegetables in retail stores have been increasing for the past seven-eight months. As fuel prices are increasing, so are transportation costs, which is directly impacting consumers' pockets.
Mirji said that the prices of almost all fruit and vegetables are increasing — especially lemons. But in the case of lemons and tomatoes, the supply is very low in comparison to demand. Hence, their prices are skyrocketing.
Lemons are squeezing the Indian kitchen's budget, as these days they cost anything between INR 15-20 (~$0.20-0.26) per lemon in the retail market. This is up to six times higher than the normal price.
According to Indian media reports, the supply of lemons has fallen due to a decline in lemon production. Lemon orchards were hit badly by exceptionally heavy rains in September and October last year. And lemons are very sensitive to moisture.
At many places, lemons are simply unavailable in the market.
Earlier this week, Kripan Ghosh, the head of the Agricultural Meteorology Division at the India Meteorological Department, told Sputnik that severe heat waves in April would impact the country's horticultural crops such as mangoes and lychees, along with poultry production.
In April, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the increase in the global average temperature would cause significant risks to the agricultural and food systems in vulnerable regions of the world, like India.
On Wednesday, the head of the country's Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Governor Shaktikanta Das, pointed towards elevated retail price inflation in April, but he did not put a number to it.
According to Indian media outlet Business Standard, it may have been in the range of 7.4-7.5 percent in April.
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