Owing to less demand and strong supply during the harvest season, prices of tomato and onion have come crashing down to Rs. 1-2 and Rs. 8 per kg, respectively in the wholesale market of Delhi. The direct purchase of these vegetables from farmers is also taking a toll on the wholesalers.
"Increased supply from neighbouring states and poor demand from hotels, restaurants, hostels, canteen and banquet halls, which account for over 50% of the buyers are the major reasons," Chugh, president of Tomato and Vegetable Traders Association at Azadpur mandi said. Two weeks ago tomato was trading at around Rs. 8-10 per kg.
Demand from the hotel industry which on a daily basis in a usual scenario bought Rs. 50-300 per kg for preparing soups, gravies etc. dropped by almost 50-60%. Similarly, demand for onions and tomatoes from hostels also saw a steep decline as 1.5-2 million students have travelled back home amid the coronavirus crisis.
Also in the last two to three weeks, prices of onion have halved, said Ram Baran of Shri Ram Trading Co in Azadpur mandi. He added of the total daily arrival at the mandi, traders are able to sell just half the quantity. Hotels, restaurants and institutions are not fully operational. Consumer buying is also less," he said.
There has been seen direct buying from the states producing onion which means a direct benefit of Rs. 2-3 per kg for buyers in other states. "Buyers in other states save Rs 2-3 a .. kg on direct purchases from the growing states. This is a big loss for us", , said Moti Lal of PM Onion Trading Co.
Other deterrents for buyers include restrictions by the Azadpur APMC with respect to time limit for trucks as well as on the number of buyers.