Pune farmer becomes millionaire amid rising tomato prices

PUNE, July 19: 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. (PTI)