Government Launches Tomato Grand Challenge Hackathon to Tackle Price Hike

The Department of Consumer Affairs, in partnership with the Innovation Cell of the Education Ministry, has devised the Grand Challenge.

New Delhi: In response to the soaring tomato prices across the country, the government has launched the 'Tomato Grand Challenge (TGC) hackathon' to find solutions. The contest is open to students, research scholars, teachers, industries, start-ups, and professionals. Participants are encouraged to propose creative ideas to lower tomato prices, which currently range from ₹80 to ₹100 per kg.

The aim of the challenge is to improve the tomato value chain, ensuring affordability for consumers and fair returns for farmers. The contest seeks innovative interventions at various stages, such as better farming techniques, market insights, cultivars with longer shelf-life, suitable varieties for processing, and advancements in packaging and storage methods.

By engaging various stakeholders and encouraging fresh ideas, the government hopes to address the tomato price issue and ensure a steady supply of tomatoes at reasonable prices for consumers.

The hackathon invites participants from two tracks: students, research scholars, and faculty members; and industry individuals, Indian start-ups, MSMEs, LLPs, and professionals. The government has stated that winning ideas will undergo expert evaluation, followed by prototype development and field implementation. This process aims to ensure that the ideas are practical, scalable, and contribute to reducing the product's price on a large scale.

The Department of Consumer Affairs, in collaboration with the Education Ministry's Innovation Cell, has created the Grand Challenge. Interested participants can submit their applications on the official portal. 

In recent news from ANI, the steep rise in tomato prices is leading people in Uttar Pradesh to reduce their daily food consumption. Market reports indicate that tomato prices have surged from ₹10-20 per kg to ₹80-100 per kg across the country. This increase can be attributed to reduced tomato supply caused by heatwaves in tomato-growing regions and heavy rainfall.