KOCHI: The market law of ‘scarcity leads to price rise’ is working in full strength at Kerala’s vegetable markets owing to the incessant downpour in Tamil Nadu, from where the state primarily sources its vegetables.
The situation is witnessed in all parts of the state, so is the case with Kochi. Making things worse is the ‘urban’ factor, owing to which prices here are higher than other places, and also the Sabarimala pilgrim season.
While the consumers are struggling to plan their budgets according to the skyrocketing prices, the vendors also face a crisis-like situation in which supply cannot meet demand.
The number of loads coming from Tamil Nadu has significantly decreased owing to the heavy rains and floods in that state and the supply that is available is of low quality.
Also, the escalated prices discourage the merchants from purchasing big loads of vegetables despite the increased demand.
According to vendors in Kaloor and Broadway markets, the quantity of vegetables coming from Tamil Nadu has fallen to half of the usual during the past month. “November is the season of vegetables such as beans and its varieties. With the changed situation, the market tells a different story. To purchase a sack of beans, we will have to shell out at least `6,000. With the retail price of beans hovering around `90 per kilo, it is profitable to buy the vegetable in terms of kilos than in sack loads, decreasing the available stock further,” said Ashraf, a vendor at Kaloor.
The variety of vegetables available has also declined due to the scarcity, making some items like cluster beans, broad beans and cauliflower ‘vanishing’ from markets.
Customers, especially housewives, claim that they have turned to their backyards to meet their daily need of veggies in the kitchen.
“It is the more economical and healthy way to tackle the vegetable crisis. Even the shopkeepers agree that despite the high demand, business is slack. Even if the merchants bring goods from Bengaluru, regardless of the high price, the customers don’t buy what is more than absolutely necessary,” says Arifa, a housewife in the city, hailing from Kayamkulam.
All of these factors have made the usually hectic market places display vacant counters with scanty customers.
The shortage is expected to continue during the imminent winter as most of the vegetables available now are seasonal, especially the root vegetables such as beetroot, carrot etc.