Rajamouli, a farmer of Ibrahimpatnam village in Rangareddy district, approximately 12 kms from Hyderabad, is earning a little less than a rupee a kg on tomatoes this year.

Having spent nearly Rs 8 for producing one kg of tomato, Rajamouli is neck deep in losses. “Prices have dropped to less than Re 1 a kg; and even at this price we are not getting buyers,” he said.

Ironic it is, even while farmers are incurring heavy losses, retail consumer in Hyderabad is shelling out Rs 12-15 a kg for tomatoes.

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Tomato prices, which were ruling around Rs 5-6 a kg till about a fortnight ago, have sharply dipped in the last two weeks on an estimated overproduction and poor demand.

The drop is more significant compared with Rs 14-16 a kg, which the farmers were earning during November-December 2017.

“I have little option left but to cut down the plants as tomatoes have already become ripe and leaving them any further on trees will only spoil the crop. I will sell it for whatever price I get,” Rajamouli said.

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Tomato seeds in Telangana are usually sown in the month of June-July and planting is done after 3-4 weeks of sowing. Maturity of tomato plants is achieved after 8-12 weeks of planting.

Telangana produced nearly 11.04 lakh tonnes (lt) of tomatoes in 2016-17. The total area under cultivation was 55,225 hectares. The latest production figure for 2017-18 is not available.

The State accounts for almost seven per cent of the country’s total production, which stands close to 1.7 crore tonnes. Nizamabad, Nalgonda, Khammam and Rangareddy are some of the key tomato growing districts in the State.

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“A number of my friends have thrown away their tomatoes as they have no buyers. I have been selling my produce at a huge loss,” said Ahmed Khan, another farmer in the Chilkur village in Rangareddy district.

In case of overproduction and weak demand, farmers are left with little option as there is hardly any storage facility for tomatoes in the State. #KhabarLive