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Erratic Weather Likely to Reduce Tomato, Onion and Potato Crop Yield

Shivani Meena
Shivani Meena
Irregular Weather impact yield of Tomato, Potato and Onion crop

The recent irregular weather conditions, such as rainfall and hailstorms, are anticipated to reduce yields of essential crops such as potatoes, onions, and tomatoes, pushing up costs in the next weeks, according to a market intelligence report prepared by the ministry of food processing industries (MFPI). 

Rainfall lowers late Kharif crop output

Recent rainfall in Maharashtra, the country's largest onion producer, has lowered late Kharif crop output, which, according to an MFPI estimate, "may create lower availability in the later weeks of January and February 2022." Onion benchmark prices in Lasalgaon, Nasik, the trade hub, were 1,850 per quintal on Wednesday, compared to 1,350 per quintal a year earlier. 

According to government sources, onion sale prices in major cities including Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata have jumped to Rs 40 per kg from Rs 33 per kg a week ago.

"Rains have had a negative influence on the production of the Kharif onion crop, driving up prices when the crop reaches the market after harvest," Balasaheb Misar, an onion farmer from Manmad in Nashik district, told FE. 

Rainfall, hailstorms damages standing rabi crops

Rainfall and hailstorms, along with the winter season, have damaged the standing rabi or winter crop of tomato in Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana, according to traders at Azadpur Mandi, the country's largest wholesale market for fruits and veggies. "If such irregular weather conditions persisted, yield losses would be even worse," a trader told FE.

In Kollar, Maharashtra, the benchmark mandi cost of tomato was Rs 1,660 per quintal, up from Rs 860 per quintal a year earlier. Retail costs in major cities range between Rs 40 and Rs 50 per kg. 

The potato is presently being planted as a rabi or winter crop, and the cultivated crop will be managed to keep in cold storage to ensure supplies all year, according to the MFPI report.

However, "irregular weather is posing a serious threat to the crop in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh as the crop is at tuber forming stage, and foggy climate and cooler temperatures will impact tuber formation." As per the third advance estimates of horticulture crop output for 2020-21, potato production was reported at a record 54.2 million tonne (MT), a 5.6 MT rise over the previous year. 

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