Kerala to procure vegetables from other states

The move comes as a measure to meet the surge in demand ahead of Onam with no sign of prices cooling down as of now.
Surge in prices after heavy rain in key vegetable growing regions. (Photo | Express)
Surge in prices after heavy rain in key vegetable growing regions. (Photo | Express)

KOCHI: With vegetable prices showing no sign of cooling down, the state government has decided to procure vegetables from neighbouring states to meet the likely surge in demand in the lead-up to Onam.
Speaking to TNIE, Minister for Agriculture P Prasad said discussions with vegetable producers in other states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, have already taken place to mitigate a crisis.

“We had faced a similar issue a few years ago. During that time, we brought the vegetables on a truck to manage the demand during the festival season. If the price of some vegetables remains high, we will directly procure them from the vegetable producer organisations to meet the demand ahead of Onam. A discussion with them is already over,” the minister said.

The prices of vegetables, which are mainly cultivated in other states, have recorded an all-time high due to rains in the growing regions. The price of tomatoes has almost touched Rs 150 in the retail market, while the price of ginger has crossed Rs 300/kg. Green chilli, which was sold at Rs 55/kg, is fluctuating between 
Rs 80-85.

On consumption pattern

“The consumption pattern of Keralatites has changed over the years. A majority of them are using vegetables that are being cultivated in other states. Since the climate of the state is not suitable for tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and many other vegetables, we depend on them. The permanent solution is to gradually shift the consumption pattern to locally produced vegetables,” the minister said.

However, the minister said elaborate arrangements had been made in the state with the support of Krishibhavan, Horti Corp, VFPCK, and other line departments ahead of Onam.

“We have over 1,000 Krishi Bhavans in the state. Onam markets will be opened in all these units ahead of the festival. VFPCK and Hort Corp will also set up markets to make available more locally-grown vegetables. By next month, the harvest of some locally produced vegetables will also start, which will help to regulate market price,” the minister said.

The minister added that the state government’s effort to make the state self-sufficient in vegetable cultivation will continue.

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