Tomato prices in consuming centres of Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad fell below three-year lows, in the range of Rs 4-10 per kg on Friday in the wholesale markets on higher arrival, according to official data.
The prices had ruled at Rs 14.30 per kg on May 22 last year at the Azadpur wholesale mandi in the national capital, while above Rs 30 per kg in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
The steep fall in prices of tomatoes was due to higher supply of the commodity amid sluggish demand and lack of smooth movement of perishable commodities in this COVID-19 crisis, experts said.
According to data maintained by the food processing ministry, "In Azadpur, the current modal prices are trading near Rs 440 per quintal as compared to Rs 1,258 per quintal last year."
In Delhi, the tomato crop is coming from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, it said.
In Hyderabad's Bowenpally wholesale market, tomato prices were ruling at around Rs 5 per kg on Friday, compared with Rs 34 per kg a year ago.
Similarly, in the Bengaluru wholesale market, tomato prices were ruling at Rs 10 per kg as against above Rs 30 per kg in the year-ago period.
In tomato-producing areas also, the wholesale rates have fallen below three-year's seasonal average in 40 districts out of 52 tracked by the food processing ministry for the purpose of extending marketing linkages.
Even in 12 clusters identified for linking directly to markets, prices of tomatoes are ruling below three-year's average low.
For instance in five tomato clusters located in the Kolar district of Karnataka, prices declined to the level of Rs 3-8 per kg depending on the quality and varieties when compared with Rs 14-35 per kg in the year-ago, the data showed.
In Andhra Pradesh, five clusters located in Chittoor district as well as in two clusters in Odisha showed a similar declining trend in prices.
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the top-two major tomato-producing states in India. The combined production of the two states is estimated at 42 lakh tonne this year.
India's annual tomato production is enough to meet the domestic demand of about 111 lakh tonnes.
The government has pegged total tomato output at 193.28 lakh tonne for 2019-20 crop year (July-June), according to the ministry's data.