Chittoor: Tomatoes are being sold for Rs 130 per kg in Vizag, Vijayawada, and other cities of Andhra Pradesh.

Traders predict that the tomato prices will touch Rs 150 per kg as heavy rains have caused massive damage to the standing crops in Chittoor, Kurnool, Kadapa, and Anantapur of the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh and neighboring Karnataka.

Tomato prices have been soaring between July and September for the past few years. Prices have tripled in the last three months. This year, the prices of tomatoes shoot up to Rs 100 in November second week due to the demand and supply gap. Crop damage is likely to have an impact on the prices as well.

Andhra Pradesh has emerged as the top state in the production of tomatoes. Production in the state has touched 26.67 lakh Metric Tonnes. Around 58,199 hectares of land are under tomato cultivation. The average productivity of tomatoes is 36 to 40 Metric Tonnes per hectare.

The main tomato-producing districts are Chittoor, Anantapur, Kadapa, Kurnool, Prakasham, East Godavari, and Vizianagaram.

The area under tomato cultivation in the Chittoor district is around 28,000 hectares and the production is over 12 lakh tones.

Anantapur district produces over 10 lakh tonnes of tomatoes and the area under cultivation is over 19,000 hectares.

The rains damaged the crops in the Rayalaseema region.

Andhra Pradesh contributes over 20 percent of the total tomato production in the country followed by Madhya Pradesh (12 percent) and Karnataka (10 percent).

Farmers in eight districts grow tomatoes in the state. Chittoor and Anantapur top in tomato production in the state.

Officials of the Horticulture department said that Madanapalle in Chittoor district in the state is the biggest tomato market followed by Pimpalgaon in Maharashtra's Nashik.

Chittoor district is the largest producer of tomatoes in the country. It houses Asia's biggest tomato market. The yard in the Madanapalle division can hold 800 tonnes of tomatoes per day.

The production reaches its peak by October-November every year and the average yield is 16 to 18 MTs per acre.

Ironically, Madanapalle market yard has been receiving only 300 tonnes of tomato. Of which only 100 tonnes is quality tomato. Wholesale traders are supplying the tomato to selected cities in the state. They said people maybe not be in a position to purchase the tomato due to the high prices.

A senior officer with Horticulture Department said heavy rains in the Rayalaseema region destroyed the standing tomato crops. Prices of tomatoes will further increase to over Rs150 per kg in the coming days.

"It seems prices of the tomato will stabilize only after January. Tomato is sown mostly in between February and April. The crop is harvested in summer. The unplanned cultivation of tomatoes is one of the reasons for high and low prices of vegetables," he added.

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