The government is likely to buy tomatoes directly from farmers in regions where prices have crashed due to a bumper crop creating a glut in the local market.
According to sources, the Consumer Affairs Ministry's price stabilisation fund (PSF) will be used to make the purchases to provide relief to the distressed farmers who have started dumping their crop as cattle feed since prices are not even covering transport costs in some areas.
Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have been the worst hit as a bumper yield has created a glut in the market. Prices plummeted to as low as Rs 3-10 a kg last week after having soared to Rs 250 a kg a month in August as heavy rains destroyed crops and triggered a scarcity in the market.
Average wholesale and retail prices of tomatoes were hovering around Rs 30 and Rs 16 a kg respectively on Tuesday in other parts of the country, according to figures compiled by the National Horticulture Board.