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India’s Tomato Crisis: Skyrocketing Prices, Hoarding and Violence

The price soared 7 times, and the “tomato crisis” broke out in India! Two farmers were killed one after another, and the merchant hired bodyguards to prevent robbery! In India, only you can’t think of…

Tomatoes, onions and potatoes are the three main dishes on the Indian table. However, more and more Indians are forced to kick tomatoes out of their vegetable baskets because of their cash-strapped. The price of tomatoes has soared 7 times, even more expensive than gasoline.

This has turned many tomato farmers into millionaires, but it has also led to the death of some farmers.

Recently, the owner of a vegetable and fruit shop in India hired two bodyguards to guard the shop because he was worried that customers would grab tomatoes or violently bargain. However, the police believed that the move was politically motivated and arrested the boss and his son on charges of inciting ethnic confrontation. On July 13, the father and son were finally released on bail.

Farmers turned rich
According to Haiwai.com on July 18, citing a report from the “India Today” website on July 17, the price of tomatoes across India has soared recently, which has turned many tomato farmers into millionaires, and some even made money in one day . It reached 1.8 million rupees (about 157,000 yuan).
Tukaram, a farmer in the Pune district of Maharashtra, and his family sold 13,000 boxes of tomatoes in a month, earning more than 15 million rupees (about 1.31 million yuan). In one day on the 15th, Tukaram sold 900 boxes of tomatoes and earned 1.8 million rupees. The Tukarams say the tomatoes they grow are of good quality, and their knowledge of fertilizers and pesticides helps them keep their crops free from pests.

Farmers who become millionaires by selling tomatoes are not limited to Maharashtra. In Kolar, Karnataka, a farmer sold 2,000 boxes of tomatoes within a week, earning 3.8 million rupees (about 332,000 yuan). According to Indian media, depending on the quality, the price of each box of tomatoes ranges from 1,000 rupees (about 87 yuan) to 2,400 rupees (about 209 yuan).

Indian agriculture and nutrition experts have previously said that one factor contributing to the current tomato shortage is extreme weather. High temperatures have swept India and other parts of Asia in recent weeks. The Indian government has warned that India will be one of the worst affected countries, with extreme weather potentially affecting 1.4 billion people across the country.

According to Haiwai.com on July 18, citing a report on July 17 on the website of India’s New Delhi TV station, the recent skyrocketing tomato prices in India not only put heavy pressure on the people’s economy, but even led to murders. Two farmers guarding tomato crops in the Annamaya district of Andhra Pradesh, India, have been murdered in just seven days.
Andhra Pradesh police said that at midnight on the 16th, a farmer named Reddy was strangled to death while he was sleeping. He was protecting crops with tomatoes. After the incident, Reddy’s family members were shocked, and the local police were sent to the scene to investigate. Earlier, another 62-year-old tomato farmer was also found murdered in the village.
The price of tomatoes soared 7 times
According to Xinhua News Agency on July 13, citing a report by the US Consumer News and Business Channel on the 13th, India, one of the world’s major tomato producing countries, is facing a tomato supply crisis due to extreme weather affecting the harvest. According to data from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution of India, the price of tomatoes in India has soared 341% from the beginning of this year to the 11th of this month. The Indian National Institute of Biostress Management, which specializes in agriculture, believes that major tomato-producing areas in India, such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, suffered floods due to heavy rainfall, and many tomato crops were destroyed. It is the key factor that boosts the price soaring.

According to data from the Indian Food Ministry quoted by Gale News on the 18th, on July 16, the retail price of tomatoes in New Delhi, the capital of India, was 178 rupees (about 16 yuan) per kilogram, which was 27 rupees (about 2.3 yuan) per kilogram in January. ) 7 times the price. In comparison, gasoline prices in New Delhi are about 96 rupees (about 8.4 yuan) per liter.

Tomatoes and onions are considered a daily staple for Indian consumers. According to reports, after the price of tomatoes soared, farmers in some parts of India reported a large number of thefts of tomatoes, and one of them reported that boxes of tomatoes weighing up to 150 kilograms were stolen.

Some McDonald’s stores in India have stopped serving tomato products. The fast-food brand’s franchisees in western and southern India said the shortage of tomatoes was a “seasonal” issue that the Indian foodservice industry had to deal with every rainy season.

According to reports, India’s tomato planting season is from June to July every year. At this time, its price usually ushers in a wave of rise, but it will fall back in August when it is harvested. According to Indian government data, the price of tomatoes in the country rose by 166% year-on-year in July.

According to a report on the website of the US Bloomberg News Agency on the 7th, social media is full of ridicules related to the price of tomatoes in India. In one image, tomatoes are ahead in a race against gasoline and diesel. One video joked that “buying” local politicians was cheaper than buying tomatoes.

According to a report by Dafeng News on the 18th, recently, the owner of a vegetable and fruit shop in India hired two bodyguards to watch the shop because he was worried that customers would grab tomatoes or violently bargain. However, the police were politically motivated in this move and arrested the boss and his son on charges of inciting ethnic confrontation. On July 13, the father and son were finally released on bail.

Will climate change trigger a food crisis?
According to a report by the Global Times on July 19 citing India’s Mint News Network on the 17th, the Indian government is considering a plan to ban the export of most rice varieties. According to reports, about 80% of India’s rice exports will be restricted. “The Times of India” stated that India is considering banning most rice exports, mainly to curb rising domestic food prices.

The latest data show that the retail price of rice in the capital New Delhi has risen by about 15% this year. Indian rice prices rose, mainly due to the impact of extreme weather. As of Friday, India’s summer-sown rice area was 26% lower than a year earlier, as rainfall in previous months was 8% below normal, Reuters reported. At the same time, major floods and other disasters broke out in northern grain-producing areas such as Punjab.

Reuters said on the 17th that the World Meteorological Organization recently stated that the emergence of the destructive El Niño phenomenon may affect some food-growing areas, especially “almost all rice-producing countries will be affected.” According to reports, most Asian countries will plant rice in the second season of this year below normal levels. In Thailand, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, rainfall in May was 26% below normal. Indonesia, another major rice producer, signed a rare deal with India last month to import 1 million tonnes of rice.

The reduction in food production and the rise in food prices caused by the climate have the greatest impact on poor countries, and people in some developed countries have also shouted that they cannot bear it. According to statistics released by the Korea Consumer Agency on the 17th, the average price of a bowl of Jajangmyeon in South Korea in June was 6,917 won (about 39 yuan), a year-on-year increase of 10.4%. In a cold noodle restaurant in Seoul, a bowl of cold noodles costs 16,000 won (about 91 yuan).

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