Byline BUA BHATT
Jalpaiguri: Owing to high production of tomato this year, farmers of the region are not getting price for their yields. The over production of tomato has resulted in a very poor price realization and price of one kilogram of tomato has come down to a mere 25 paisa.
Irritated at this farmers in north Bengal are preferring to throw tomatoes in fields and roads rather than selling it at the price available in wholesale markets. Even on Saturday farmers at a Dhupguri market threw some 12 quintals of tomatoes after the wholesalers offered them 25 paisa for every kilo of tomato.
“It requires Rs.1200 for cultivating tomato on one bigha of land and the yield at the most is 600 kilograms. During the mid season we don’t even get Rs.10 per kilo when we go to sell it whereas the production cost for every kilo stands at Rs.20. By the end of March the price lowers further. But we never faced such a situation in recent past,” said Bikas Roy, a farmer.
According to experts, over cultivation is one of the prime reasons that results in low price of the produces. It is learnt that last year 40 kilogram of tomato seeds were sold out from different outlets to the farmers of the region. “I gram of seed gives birth to 300 seedlings. Now when 40 kg seed was used, just imagine what can be the yield. With the yield area remaining the same, it resulted in over production resulting in poor price realisation,” said an agriculture official.
“Every day on an average 1500 tonnes of tomatoes are brought to the market where the buyer is restricted. Due to its perishable nature no wholesaler would like to buy more tomato as there is a shortage of multipurpose cold storage in the region. Therefore price of tomato is coming down every day,” he added.
Another prime factor which affects the farmers is the presence of brokers in the market, who actually control the auction system. There are over 50 syndicates in this region which has total control over the market. Any farmer intending to sell his product has to go through these brokers to have their deal done.
“Last year when we were getting Re.1 for every kilo of tomato, in the markets it was being sold at Rs.12 per kilo. The middlemen were making the money and we remained as mere spectators. Same is the story this year. Had there been few multipurpose cold storages, we could have stored our produces and at least could try to sell it later at higher price,” said Mohammad Asraful, a cultivator.
“We do not control the market. Rather the market controls us. If the demand is high, price will also be high and vice versa. To make more and more profits farmers produce more and more tomato. Naturally, the price comes down when availability is surplus,” argued Ashok Sarkar, a middleman from RKS syndicate.