Kolar tomatoes find good domestic, global market

19 Sep 2020 10:24 AM
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Tomato growers in Kolar are happy - their crop has found an excellent market not simply in neighbouring states but also over the border in Bangladesh. Kolar’s APMC market saw about 6,000 quintals landing every day, and an annual turnover of `400 crore prior to the pandemic hit, so that it is one of Asia’s major markets for tomatoes.

On average, tomato is grown on about 10,000 acres in the district, mostly in Mulbagal and Srinivaspura taluks. However, the uncertainties induced by the pandemic led to less than usual harvest this year. “Because of the pandemic and the lockdown, many farmers didn't cultivate the crop. Rather than 6,000 quintals, about 4,000 quintals reach the market everyday now,” APMC president B Venkatesh Kolar told TNIE.

Before the pandemic and subsequent lockdown disrupted international trade, tomato growers in Kolar exported their produce to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. With travel restrictions eased following the lockdown was lifted, exports to Bangladesh have resumed. Every day for the past few weeks, lorries loaded with 400 tonnes of tomatoes have already been making their way to the neighbouring country.

“Each day, 20 lorries are sent to Bangladesh. It requires four to five days to reach the Bangladesh border from Kolar. They pass Kolkata and unload tomatoes at the India-Bangladesh border,” Venkatesh said. Exports to the other three countries have not resumed as flight operations are yet to reach normal levels. 

Addititionally there is good domestic demand in Kerala, West Bengal, UP, Delhi, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, because of the poor harvest in other tomato-growing states. “This created a demand for Kolar-grown tomatoes. The price of a 15kg box of tomatoes, which fell to Rs 50, crossed Rs 600. Two days ago, it touched Rs 800 in auctions. Through the pandemic, it has taken a smile to tomato growers in Kolar,” said Muniraj, APMC market supervisor.