Armed guards for tomatoes in India as prices rise

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Guard in front of tomatoesImage source, YouTube/India TV
Image caption,
Thieves have stolen tonnes of tomatoes in India this month

The price of tomatoes has risen so much in India that armed guards have been deployed to protect shipments of them in one state.

The Hindustan Times on Sunday cited a wholesaler at a market in the city of Indore, in Madhya Pradesh state, saying that the security of tomatoes was of "considerable concern" because of their "skyrocketing" prices.

The wholesaler said the administrators of the Devi Ahilya Bai Holker market had appointed half a dozen armed guards to keep the tomatoes safe - particularly when they are being unloaded from trucks.

There have been reports elsewhere in the country this month of thieves making off with tonnes of tomatoes worth thousands of rupees.

Madhya Pradesh actually had a bumper crop of the fruit this year, so much so that farmers were dumping tomatoes on roads about a month ago.

But tomatoes are now off-season there and heavy rains have damaged crops in some key areas that are currently producing them.

The shortage this month has seen prices nearly double in various parts of the country to about 100 rupees ($1.55, £1.19) per kg, "severely pinching the pocket of the common man", The Indian Express reports

One commentator in the India Today website warns that "onions are known to tumble governments" in India, and says that tomatoes - a staple used in many dishes as well - must be giving current politicians "similar nightmares".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A hike in the price of tomatoes around the country is making many see red

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Additional reporting by Upasana Bhat

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