Elsewhere in Khar, Andheri Lokhandwala and Mahalaxmi the rate swung between Rs 80 for the small yellow variety. Redder tomatoes sold for Rs 90 per kg. D’Mart displayed that the fruit was out of stock.
Vendors claimed there was a shortage of crop resulting from multiple factors. Vaish Traders in LBS Market, Matunga, and Nilesh Gupta of Jai Ambe Traders in Mulund blamed the heat wave in the growing areas of Maharashtra. Wholesaler Sudan Rajan of Byculla Market said heavy rain and sweeping cold had spoilt the Bangalore harvest. “Mumbai is receiving tomato from Rajasthan so naturally transport costs increase proportionately,” Rajan said.
APMC director Shankar Pingale said, “The local harvest of tomatoes from Satara and Narayangaon is being purchased by traders across the country, leading to a shortfall here. The wholesale rate in APMC Vashi is Rs 50-65 per kg and is likely to remain so for another fortnight.”
This implies that retail rates will also stay Rs 80-100 until June 6.
This price escalation has evoked anger and upset among families that are already struggling to keep their heads above water amid a vortex of inflation. “If a household is hard pressed to manage merely food expenses, imagine the nightmare of dealing with house rent, education, transportation and healthcare,” said Bharat Sawant, an auto parts dealer in Andheri.
Vendors are unhappy as well. Matunga’s Vaish said a wastage of leftover 1 kg now causes a loss of Rs 65-70 in actual terms. Green grocer Jeetu Jaiswal of Pali Market said, “Our margin remains 5-10% whether we sell for Rs 30 per kilo or Rs 100. We are selling lesser quantities now. Once customers hear the price, they express shock and reduce their purchase.”
In another upward swing, prices of potato, normally stable at Rs 24-25 per kilo yearlong, are inching up to Rs 30-35. Onion has regularised at Rs 25 per kg.