Soaring veggie prices in Chennai land consumers in sour soup

Rates at Koyambedu double in a fortnight due to decrease in supply
File picture of a trader arranging his tomato stock
File picture of a trader arranging his tomato stock(Photo | Express)

CHENNAI: The prices of several vegetables at the Koyambedu wholesale market have doubled in the past fortnight. This is attributed to a decrease in supply as crops have been adversely affected by the lack of usual summer showers in the hilly regions of the state and in neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka from where vegetables are procured. Traders expect the elevated prices to persist for at least a month.

According to wholesale traders, a kilogramme of carrot is sold at Koyambedu market for Rs 45, brinjal for Rs 40, beans Rs 120, drumstick Rs 100, beetroot Rs 40, broad beans Rs 70, tomato Rs 50, cauliflower Rs 40, cabbage Rs 45, potato Rs 40, green chilli Rs 50, yam Rs 55-60, colocasia Rs 45-50, ginger Rs 140-150, garlic Rs 300, cluster beans Rs 60, chow chow Rs 40, bitter gourd Rs 60, and radish Rs 40. The prices have doubled compared to those in the last week of April.

Retail prices of these vegetables are at least Rs 20 higher than wholesale prices. The cost of a bunch of coriander, which was Rs 30 in retail markets a few days ago, decreased to Rs 15 on Saturday. The number of lorries arriving at Koyambedu, each with a capacity of 15 to 25 tonnes, has reduced from about 550 every day to 300.

“In April and May, the severe heat and the accompanying shortage of water affected crops. Usually, summer showers help crop growth and keep prices in check. However, many areas received summer showers only in June, which has severely impacted yield. Many farmers relied on groundwater for irrigation, but the intense heat also made crops prone to pests,” said Kannaiyan Subramanian, a farmer from Thalavadi.

In retail markets, tomatoes and onions are being sold at Rs 70 and Rs 60 per kg respectively. “It has become difficult for us to manage as the prices of all vegetables have increased. They range from Rs 60 to Rs 180, putting a strain on our budget. We are spending at least Rs 1,000 more a month for a family of four,” said R Nivethitha, a homemaker.

Rs 70/kg

is the price of tomatoes at retail shops in the city at present. Onion price has also skyrocketed to Rs 60 per kg

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