Pune farmer becomes millionaire amid rising tomato prices, earns Rs 3 cr in one month

Pune: Farmer from Pune in Maharashtra has become a millionaire by selling his bountiful yield of the key kitchen staple for Rs three crore in just over a month

BY | Wednesday, 19 July, 2023

Even as the soaring prices of tomatoes are burning a hole in the common man’s pocket, a farmer from Pune in Maharashtra has become a millionaire by selling his bountiful yield of the key kitchen staple for Rs three crore in just over a month while overcoming various challenges.

Farmer Ishwar Gaykar (36), from Pachghar village in Junnar tehsil of Pune district, had faced a difficult decision of dumping a large quantity of harvested tomatoes in May this year due to low prices.
Undeterred by the setback, he continued to exhibit unwavering determination and work tirelessly on his 12-acre farm to cultivate tomatoes.

Now, amid the skyrocketing prices of tomatoes, Gaykar’s hard work has paid off handsomely, transforming him into a millionaire as he claimed to have earned Rs three crore through the sale of his crop yield between June 11 and July 18.

Talking to PTI, Gaykar said during the period, he sold 18,000 crates of tomatoes (each crate comprising 20 kg of tomatoes) at the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) at Narayangaon in Junnar tehsil for Rs three crore.
He aims to earn another Rs 50 lakh by selling the remainder of the produce, which is roughly 4,000 crates.
The total input cost of cultivation, including transportation, was Rs 40 lakh, he said.

“I have an 18-acre farm where I cultivate tomatoes on 12 acres. I have sold 18,000 crates since June 11 and have so far earned Rs 3 crore,” said Gaykar.

On June 11, he fetched a price of Rs 770 per crate (Rs 37 to Rs 38 per kg), and on July 18, he sold tomatoes at Rs 2,200 per crate (Rs 110 per kg).

Gaykar, who is now happy to earn handsome dividends on the produce, recalled how he had to dump a large quantity of harvested tomatoes just two months back due to low prices.

“This is the best of times for the tomato growers, but we have witnessed worst times also. In the month of May, I grew tomatoes on one-acre land, but had to throw away large quantities of the produce as the prices were very low. I had thrown the produce away as the per crate rate was just Rs 50, which means Rs 2.50 per kg,” he said.

Gaykar also said that in 2021, he incurred losses worth Rs 15 lakh to Rs 16 lakh and last year also he just earned a narrow profit margin.

“When I was throwing the tomatoes in May this year, this yield on the 12-acre land was under cultivation.

Undeterred by the setback, I kept up my resilience and commitment towards farming and continued spending on the cultivation of tomatoes,” he said.

“I took good care of the produce even in the scorching May heat. Due to the high temperatures, tomato cultivation in other parts took a beating, but farmers like me benefitted as we continued to work hard,” he said.

Another farmer Raju Mahale, who earned more than Rs 20 lakh by selling 2,500 crates in the current season, said he was also jittery about tomato cultivation after May as the per acre input cost was around Rs 3.5 lakh. But, he went ahead with the cultivation, receiving good dividends now.

Narayangaon agriculture market trader Akshay Solat, who purchased Gaykar’s produce, said as there was a boom in the market again, he purchased tomatoes at Rs 2,400 per crate.

“I have been in this trading business for the last 15 years, but I have never seen such a boom in the tomato market. Once there was a rate of Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 per crate, but such price-wise consistency in the tomato market was never witnessed,” he said.

He, however, said only a handful of farmers have earned handsomely this season, including farmers from Pachghar, Otur, Ambegavhan, and Rokdi.

Narayangaon APMC chief Sanjay Kale said generally in this season, their market receives 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh crates of tomatoes per day, but in the current season, it has dropped to 30,000 to 35,000 crates per day.

“In the last two years, farmers incurred huge losses and could not recover their production costs, which resulted in a drop in production. During the summers, the tomato crop suffered from diseases, forcing the farmers to abandon their tomato farms,” he said.

“I generally get tomatoes from across the state, but because of the aforementioned reasons, the market committee is receiving the produce from Junnar and Ambegaon tehsils. These are the reasons why tomato prices have skyrocketed and demand has soared,” he said.
Kale said since the production of tomatoes has taken a beating in north India, traders from other states come to the market in Narayangaon to purchase the key kitchen staple.

The National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) last week started selling tomatoes at a discounted rate of Rs 90 per kg in Delhi-NCR and Patna in a bid to provide relief to consumers amid the high prices.

The Centre had directed the two cooperatives to procure tomatoes from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra for distribution in major consumption centres, where retail prices have recorded maximum increase in the last month.

“Though the NCCF and NAFED started selling tomatoes at the discounted rate, the government is buying the produce at Rs 110 or Rs 120 per kg, so farmers will continue to get what they are getting now,” Kale said.

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