23 April, 2021

Rain Or Shine, The Glow Eludes Growers Yet Again

Sky-high tomato prices have set off WhatsApp jokes, but the farmer is shortchanged—and left only to weep

Labourers carry tomatoes at Delhi’s Ghazipur market on July 26
Photograph by Vijay Pandey
Rain Or Shine, The Glow Eludes Growers Yet Again

Ritik and Pawan are aware of the flip side of their arduous journey from the hills of Himachal Pradesh down to the pla­INS of Delhi this monsoon. As tomato growers in Mangarh of Sirmour district, they drive for ten hours to reach the national capital’s wholesale vegetable market at Ghazipur. The entire effort of bringing the fresh produce is worth much more than what they eventually sell it for. The duo also knows that tomato growers bore the brunt of a glut this April, when hundreds of farmers were for­ced to throw away their harvest for want of breakeven rates.

But now, they are getting Rs 50 a kg, yet Ritik and Pawan are left sour. In any case, they have no choice but to accept what wholesale commission agents at Ghazi­pur offer them. Even during a supply shortfall, as at present, it’s the grower who is being shortchanged. The ‘mandi rate’—the price at which they hand over produce at the mandi via a commission agent—has them chafing all over again. The farmers are highly upset. For, while boarding their truck for Delhi,...

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