High prices of vegetables causing pain to consumers

Food inflation likely intensified in June from the 8.7 per cent rate observed in April and May.
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(Photo | Express)

KOLKATA: Retail prices for vegetables, eggs, and poultry meat remain high in Kolkata markets, causing suffering for the common man.

Tomato prices have soared to Rs 80-100 per kg from Rs 45-50 a month ago, while Brinjal is selling for Rs 110-140 per kg, a jump of nearly 150 per cent from early June, greengrocers in several markets in the city said.

Prices of several other vegetables such as bitter gourd, green chilli and bottle gourd have also increased by an average of 50 per cent.

Egg and poultry meat prices have risen by 20-30 per cent in local markets.

"Now tomatoes in Bengal are coming from other states. There is a short supply of tomatoes from Bangalore and Himachal Pradesh due to heat waves and heavy rain. The production was hit due to heat waves and disruptions in logistics due to heavy rain," a source in West Bengal Vendors Association told PTI.

Agriculture Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said that people are facing price pain since the Centre reduced support for farmers in fertilisers and transport subsidies, while climatic conditions have also aggravated the situation.

"The West Bengal government continues to support our farmers who are facing a rise in input costs. On the other hand, the Centre is reducing various subsidies. Hence, both farmers and commoners are suffering," said Chattopadhyay, also a Trinamool Congress leader.

He said that the state government has a retail distribution network, 'Sufal Bangla,' the outlets of which sell vegetables and food articles at reasonable prices.

"In Sufal Bangla, tomatoes are priced at Rs 65 per kg against a minimum of Rs 80 in the retail market. Bitter gourd is sold at Rs 72 per kg, and brinjal at Rs 102 per kg, which are 10-20 per cent cheaper. We are planning to increase the number of outlets from 484 now," Chattopadhyay said.

"Over the last three weeks, the prices of vegetables, eggs, and poultry have surged. Tomato prices have doubled, and onion prices are also inching higher. Inflation in essential items continues to cause us pain in one way or another," Manashi Sanyal, a homemaker, said.

Food inflation likely intensified in June from the 8.7 per cent rate observed in April and May.

According to Crisil's food plate cost tracker, the cost of a home-cooked vegetarian meal increased by 10 per cent year-on-year, reaching a six-month high, while the cost of non-vegetarian meals hit a seven-month peak.

The RBI has consistently expressed concerns over rising food prices.

Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index moderated to a one-year low of 4.75 per cent in May.

However, inflation in the food basket was 8.69 per cent, marginally down from 8.70 per cent in April.

However, fresh harvests from southern states are set to hit markets soon, which should ease prices within days, the consumer affairs ministry officials expect, adding that summer sowing of key vegetables is expanding robustly on the back of good rains.

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