A video of Malayalam news broadcast by Asianet News was shared online with the claim, “In southern India, middlemen aren’t paying the right price for tomatoes… offering 0.75 paise per kilogram. That’s why tomatoes are being discarded on the streets by farmers. This created a shortage in northern India, now everyone will realise the importance of Modi’s farmer laws.”

This video was shared by multiple Twitter users including @RajeevS29778815 and @Dnyanesh_Backed. Their tweets gained over 200 retweets each.

Similarly, multiple Facebook users also shared this video.

Alt News has received several requests to fact-check this claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160) as well.

Video verification

Alt News performed a keyword search on YouTube and found the video in question.

Asianet News had uploaded the video in question on May 15. It reported on the challenges faced by tomato farmers in Karnataka during the lockdown.

According to a May 22 report by The Indian Express (IE), “The lack of predictability in the functioning of wholesale vegetable markets in the country, on account of variabilities in the lockdowns in different states and the closing of retail outlets, hotels, hostels and marriage halls, has resulted in large quantities of tomatoes going unsold in the Kolar APMC market, which is the second-largest tomato market in Asia.”

C R Srinath, a tomato trader at the Kolar APMC, told IE, “The tomato produce has been nearly four times more than previous seasons because farmers were expecting good prices and sales. The disruption of the market by the lockdown has meant that some of the produce goes unsold for a few days and then their quality deteriorates and they end up commanding no prices at all. Good tomatoes were going at about Rs 200 for a 15 kg box but fourth and fifth quality tomatoes fetch only a few rupees for a 15 kg box, he said.” It is worth noting that around the same time, a similar phenomenon was observed in Haryana.

To sum it up, a video of farmers dumping tonnes of tomatoes in Karnataka has been shared with the claim that the video is recent and farm laws, repealed by Prime Minister Modi on November 18, would have enabled farmers to gain a fair price for their produce.

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🙏 Blessed to have worked as a fact-checking journalist from November 2019 to February 2023.