Raipur, Dec 27: Frustrated with the sharp fall and almost non-existing sale of tomatoes, reportedly due to demonetisation, farmers of Durg city in Chhattisgarh threw away 20 tractors full of tomatoes on the street leading to the main Mandi on Monday leading to La Tomatina like situation . According to a local news report, this act of anger which shocked the people around was reportedly due to the fall in prices from the expected rate of Rs.20 per kilograms to 50 paise per kilogram.
The report claimed that people were not even taking away the tomatoes for free at retail stores and the farmers are of the opinion that this is the result of demonetisation as people are unwilling to buy from them. However, we must look at the case carefully to see the actual effect of demonetisation on the whole issue.
According to the price records on the government website Agmarket.nic.in, tomato was priced at Rs. 1500 per quintal, which is Rs 15 per kilogram at Durg in December 2015. This year, a clear drop has been observed with the price being Rs.300 per quintal, that is again Rs. 3 per kilogram in Durg again. In this regard, the national wholesale price has been set as on December 27 is Rs.6 to Rs.8 per kilogram. But what is most important is the actual fall of the price from Rs. 15 per kilogram to Rs. 3 per kilogram, a five fold fall, if we may call it. And to what extent demonetistion is responsible can only be guessed.
Watch: Farmers throw away 20 tractors of tomatoes frustrated with falling prices (Credit:Patrika Chhattisgarh)
As per a report, the farmers cultivated tomato expecting to make a considerable profit, but evidently their hopes failed and resulted in what can be considered a sadder version of La Tomatina. But then again, in this market which is greatly affected by the demand-supply game, the real question is if demonetisation the only cause for the woes of the farmers?
Tomato prices have been the most dynamic in the market, with the prices going as high as Rs.100 per kilogram and as reported, now Durg market offers tomatoes at 50 paise per kilogram. Clearly, the unwillingness to buy tomatoes seem to have affected the prices. It means the demand decreased, while supply increased, hence bringing the price down to such an extent that the farmers had to throw away their production. This seems like the deflation which was predicted by eperts when demonetisation was announced, and if this is the first hint of deflation, as R. Jagannathan believes that deflation is worse than inflation for governments, the BJP Government might have some damage control to do, before things get further out of control.
Looking at the images of the depressing La Tomatina in Chhattisgarh, the author just wonders if these farmers possess a smart phone with the Narendra Modi app to vote for the demonetisation move, or perhaps against it.