Veggie prices swing wildly with rains

NAGPUR: Vegetable prices are set to swing like a wild yo-yo over the next couple of months. The cost of certain types which had shot up astronomically over the last couple of days had come down slightly on Tuesday.

However, market watchers have warned this is just a red herring as prices will continue to fluctuate until at least Dussehra in October.

Short supply from different parts of the district and state in the past few days resulted in the cost shooting skywards since the last weekend. Brinjal and cauliflower, which had become the staple diet of most due it its easy availability, too are seeing high prices.

Incessant rains have severely affected production of vegetables in most parts of the state for the last month. Nagpur mostly depends on Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Wardha, Amravati districts and tehsil places like Kalmeshwar, Katol, Narkhed, Bhivapur for the supply of vegetables.

Sources from the wholesale vegetable market said production drastically fell as farmers are concentrating more on major crops like soyabean and cotton. “That’s also one of the reasons for the price rise,” he said. Retailers are selling the vegetable at exorbitant prices.

In retail, tomato is being sold at Rs 20 per kg, ladyfinger between Rs 30 to Rs 35, brinjal at Rs 40 per kg, cucumber at Rs 10, bitter gourd at Rs 30, bottle gourd at Rs 30 a kg, round gourd at Rs 40kg, carrot at Rs 30 per kg, capsicum at Rs 50, beetroot at Rs 30 and beans at Rs 80 per kg.

Besides, the prices of chillies, coriander and leafy vegetables are also very high. Chilli costs Rs 40kg and coriander Rs 35kg.

Rajesh Shrikhande, a wholesale vegetable trader, said the prices of vegetables would come down with an increase in production “but that will be only after Dussehra”.

Ramesh Mohod, another vegetable vendor, recalled that the prices of beans even reached Rs 150 per kg recently and “on Sunday cauliflower sold at Rs 80 per kg”. Consumers who cannot go to the wholesale market and depend on the retailers are paying a very high price.

Bhagyashree Deshmukh, a housewife and regular visitor to Gokulpeth Market, said she is purchasing lesser quantity due to the high prices. “We can’t live without vegetables,” she said. “If this continues, many middle class and poor families would suffer more.”

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