Tomato sold for Rs 80 per kg in Changlang

  • Local production key to lower rate

By A O News Service

ITANAGAR, May 13: Vegetables are being sold at a very high rate across Arunachal Pradesh for lack of local production, making it a consumer state. How long this geographically vast state with thin population would continue to depend on outside supply – is a million dollar question.

State leaders often call upon local people to take up agriculture and horticulture cultivation which is sustainable, instead of looking for contract works. Arunachal Pradesh, with annual rainfall ranging from 2000 mm to 8,000 mm and temperature ranging from sub-zero to 31°C, ensures suitable climate conditions with vast scope for agriculture and horticulture cultivation, is yet explore its huge potential.

To cite an example, tomato is sold at exorbitantly high rate of Rs 80 per kg in Changlang; sources told this daily on Friday, which is enough for the horticulture department to take prompt steps to facilitate commercial production by farmers, at least y the progressive one.

Tomato can be grown on a wide range of soils from sandy to heavy clay. However, well-drained, sandy or red loam soils rich in organic matter with a pH range of 6.0-7.0 are considered as ideal. Tomato is a warm season crop and it gains best colour and quality at a temperature range of 21-24°C.

The state on an average produced 13.500 ton tomatoes during 2013 to 2017, while all-time high production of 14.850 ton was in 2013 and a record low production of 3.316 ton in 2017, according to CEIC data, reported by Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

However, large scale commercial tomato production in West Kameng district, particularly progressive farmers of Rupa, and used to flood Tezpur market. This had prompted many scholars to conduct study in the district. RGU Sr assistant Prof Dr Mondy Philip and research scholar Norbu Tenzing in “A study of commercial tomato cultivation in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh – A marketing perspective’ in 2014, wrote:

Marketing of tomato is one of the most vital economic activities undertaken in the recent times. In fact, socio-economic development of West Kameng district significantly hinge on this phenomenal development. On a positive note, the study area has been seeing constant increase in area and production under tomato cultivation. Also, agents and merchants only are found to have been determining tomato price. The tomato price starts from Rs five and above but does not exceed Rs 25. In addition, most of the cultivators are selling their products at the price ranging between Rs. 10–15. Nevertheless, the tomato cultivators are earning good income of Rs 99,952 per average household during the reference period i.e., 2009–11 to 2013–14. With this background, the present study makes an attempt to analyse production, trading, mode of transportation and price trend of tomato in the district. Moreover, it also endeavours to examine gross income of tomato cultivators of the study area”.

Though of total 83,743 sqkm geographical areas, 79.63% is under forest cover as per ISFR-2019, but a conjunctive approach could be taken to promote horticulture without undermining forest coverage.  There are numerous multipurpose tree species, even fruit crops which are often incorporated in forestry programmes. The Year 2021 declared as International Year of Fruits and Vegetables by the UNGA gave a louder message to promote horticulture crops (fruits, vegetables, flowers, plantation, spices, etc), especially local, underutilized and nutritious crop species.

Thus, West Kameng is a glittering example for other districts to emulate to bring down rate of all vegetables. As supply and demand fix the rates – more the supply, less the rate and vice versa, the farmers could play a vital role by taking up large scale production to end outside supply to automatically make the rates reasonable and the state self-sufficient.

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