Vegetable prices hit the roof

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Old 21-Sep-2010
Vegetable prices hit the roof

Chandigarh September 21:

The incessant rains are causing a havoc with the household budget. With rains spoiling most vegetable crops across India, prices of vegetables are now hitting the roof, forcing people to delete most vegetables from their daily menu.

Onions are literally making the people cry, with their retail price touching Rs 25-30 per kg in various cities across North India. Tomatoes are being retailed at Rs 45 per kg, cauliflower is available at Rs 70 a kg, and peas at Rs 90 a kg. Sources in the wholesale vegetable trade say that the prices could soar further if the rains were to continue as large tracts of land under vegetable crops are submerged, thus damaging the crops.

Surinder Kaur, a housewife in Ludhiana, lamented that she had now shifted to buying vegetables on a need basis. “The prices of most vegetables are so high that I buy these on a daily basis. We cannot buy stock for a week and have also cut down on vegetable consumption by having these only once a day and cutting these from our dinner menu,” she rued.

Wholesale traders in Delhi inform that the flow of vegetables to the mandi there has trickled down, as vegetables grown in Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have been damaged because of the rains. “As a result, the prices of most vegetables in the wholesale market, too, have shot up. The wholesale price of onions has gone up from Rs 200-Rs 450 per 40 kg last fortnight to Rs 400-Rs 700 per 40 kg now (depending on their size).

Since onions are coming to North India from Belgaum in Karnataka and Kohlapur and Sholapur in Maharashtra, the onion crop has been damaged there because of heavy rainfall. This is the reason for the soaring onion prices,” said Rajinder Sharma, general secretary, Onion and Potato Merchants Association, Delhi. The same is true with other vegetables like cauliflower, peas and tomatoes. These vegetables reach Delhi and other places from Himachal Pradesh.

With heavy rains in the hill state, these vegetables, too, have been damaged. Also, with roads getting blocked in Himachal Pradesh because of land slides, vegetables are not reaching the mandis regularly, leading to their high prices. If prices of vegetables coming to North India from other states have been affected by rains, the prices of vegetables grown in the region, too, are high because of the high trader margins, which are as high as 150-400 per cent. No wonder that vegetables like lady finger, which is grown in most parts of Punjab, is retailing at Rs 50 per kg, and even cauliflower grown locally is retailing at Rs 60 a kg.

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