Chennai: Vegetable, sugarcane prices skyrocket ahead of Pongal

Traders told Express that sugarcane had started arriving at the Koyambedu market with a bundle costing around Rs 350 to Rs 400.

Published: 12th January 2019 02:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2019 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

As Pongal is round the corner, Sugar cane harvestion is going on in full swing in Ettimangalam village near Melur in Madurai district. (EPS | K.K. Sundar)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: For Pongal this year, prices of sugarcane and vegetables are likely to go up as supplies are dwindling and traders forecast that the minimum price of tomato could be above Rs 50 a kg, depending upon the availability.

Traders told Express that sugarcane had started arriving at the Koyambedu market with a bundle costing around Rs 350 to Rs 400. “We are getting only 10 to 15 trucks in the last two days and the arrivals may go up tomorrow,” said trader Sadagopan.

He said the prices are likely to go up since the tender price for space being allocated to sell sugarcane has gone up from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10.5 lakh. However, he refused to speculate how much the price would rise. 

Sugarcane is considered as an indispensable part of Pongal and every Tamil household has sugarcane as part of celebrations. Interestingly, the prices of vegetables which are used for Pongal could also rise. Koyambedu Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Merchants Association president Thiagarajan said that the availability of tomatoes would depend on the supply. 

“We used to get 70 trucks but now only 45 trucks are supplying tomatoes,” he said. Abdul Qader, Koyambedu Vegetable Wholesale Merchants Association, told Express that vegetable prices were already spiralling with ladies finger, which was selling a week earlier at Rs 20 to Rs 50 per kg, having gone up to Rs 50 per kg  and it would be hardly surprising if it went beyond Rs 50 during the Pongal festival. He foretold that the minimum price of any vegetable would be Rs 30 per kg and above.

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