On average, tomatoes are grown on about 4,000 ha in the district, mostly in Mulbagal and Srinivaspura. However, the uncertainties induced by the pandemic led to less than usual harvest this year. “Because of the pandemic and the lockdown, many farmers didn’t cultivate the crop. Rather than 600 tons, about 400 tons reach the market every day now,” APMC president B Venkatesh Kolar stated.
Before the pandemic and subsequent lockdown disrupted international trade, tomato growers in Kolar exported their produce to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. With travel restrictions eased following the lockdown was lifted, exports to Bangladesh have resumed. Every day for the past few weeks, lorries loaded with 400 tonnes of tomatoes have already been making their way to the neighbouring country.
“Each day, 20 lorries are sent to Bangladesh. It requires four to five days to reach the Bangladesh border from Kolar. They pass Kolkata and unload tomatoes at the India-Bangladesh border,” Venkatesh said. Exports to the other three countries have not resumed as flight operations are yet to reach normal levels.
Luckily, there is good domestic demand in Kerala, West Bengal, UP, Delhi, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, because of the poor harvest in other tomato-growing states.