Vegetables on fire, prices soar up to 50% on heavy rainfall
Vegetable prices have risen 25%- 40% in the past week in western and southern India because of heavy rainfall in the region that has damaged crops and disrupted transportation.
Traders in Mumbai, Belgaum and Indore said vegetable prices are likely to remain high until the next harvest in about two months. However, in north India, vegetable prices have not increased since supply is unaffected.
The price increase was also attributed to demand for Eid festivity, said traders.
Seasonal green vegetables such as bottle gourd, cabbage, beans, capsicum and carrots have taken a hit due to the rains, said Kailash Tajne, president of the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee, who added that vegetables have been sold for 25-50% more than the usual price for the past eight days.
In the Vashi mandi, prices rose 25% from August 1to Rs 10 a kg for pumpkin and Rs 40 a kg for bottle gourd and by 30% to Rs 14 a kg for capsicum and Rs 80 a kg for French beans. In the same period, cabbage prices increased by 40% to Rs 24 a kg and guar price rose by 50% to Rs 90 a kg, said Tajne.
“Only 300 trucks have come to Mumbai’s Vashi mandi on Friday, compared with 700-800 trucks in the same period last year. Prices of all major vegetables from pumpkin, peas, guar, bitter gourd, carrots, bottle gourd, cabbage and beans have hence increased,” he said, adding that arrivals from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka were slow.
Heavy rains have covered most parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala in the past few days. Rainfall in August was 39% more than normal as of Thursday. July rainfall was 2% below normal and June rain was 33% below normal.
In June, wholesale inflation of food was 6.98%, the same as in May, but inflation in vegetables softened to 24.76% in the past month from 33.15% in May. Potato inflation shrank to 24.27% while for onions, it firmed up to 16.63%.
In Belgaum’s mandi in Karnataka, which is a major hub to send vegetables in Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Goa, prices have increased.
Shivanand Shiragaonkar of Shivanand Traders in Belgaum market yard said as farmers were unable to harvest their crops, there was a fall in production and a spike in prices. Cabbage and tomato prices increased by 50% to Rs 25 a kg and Rs 40 a kg, respectively, from the first week of August, he said.
“The fields are flooded, and the crop is now lost. Farmers will have to go for replanting. Further, with highways blocked, there is no transportation from the mandi,” said Shiragaonkar. At the Devi Ahilya Sabji Mandi in Indore, carrot and bitter gourd were quoted at Rs 30 a kg and Rs 25 a kg, respectively, an increase of 50% from August 1, said Radhe Shyam of Radhe Shyam Patidar and Co.
“We have started diverting trucks heading towards to Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh mandis as there are road closures on the way due to heavy rain. Chilli prices, too, have increased by 30% to Rs 40 a kg from August 1 due to heavy rains in Buldhana, a major growing hub in the Amravati division of Maharashtra,” he said.
Vegetable Growers Association of India president Sriram Gadhave said nurseries of tomato, chillies, cabbage, cauliflower and brinjals must be replanted. Also, by the month end, farmers will start with onion planting, he said.
“Consumers in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka are paying a higher price for onion and tomato as trucks are not going,” he said.