Shimla, July 20: Prices of Tomato, capsicum, cucumber and cabbage growers in Himachal Pradesh, a prominent veggie bowl of the country, are getting a record from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi where rainfall remains largely weak, affecting the crop, experts say.
K.R. Tomar said, “There is a huge demand for vegetables in the plains. Since the production (in the hills) is optimal and the demand is high in the plains, the farmers are getting record prices,” He said a majority of tomato, capsicum, cucumber, French bean, cabbage, coriander and bottle gourd crops are reaching markets in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, commanding good prices.
He said a 25-kg crate of tomato is fetching between Rs 750 and Rs 850 a box in Solan, while it was around Rs 650 last year.The price of a crate increases by Rs 250-Rs 350 in the Delhi and Chandigarh wholesale markets.
Tomato is the major off-season cash crops grown in the lower and mid-hills of the state. Solan district alone harvests around 175,000 tonnes of tomato, half of the state’s overall production.
The heavy rainfall in Shimla, Kangra and Solan districts damaged the crop. Government estimates say vegetable cultivation in Himachal, especially off-season, has increased the state’s annual production to over 1.4 million tonnes, and taken its annual revenue well over Rs 2,500 crore.
“The crop is abundant this time due to good pre-monsoon showers and less heavy spells of showers during the monsoon” says Charan Dass Verma, a beaming cabbage grower at Jabbarhatti on the outskirts of Shimla, He said the wholesale rate of cabbage in Shimla is Rs 30 to Rs 35 a kg, while it is Rs 45 to Rs 50 in Chandigarh and Rs 55 to Rs 60 in Delhi.Last year, he said, it was less than Rs 10 a kg in the wholesale market during this period.