VISAKHAPATNAM: Following the severe summer impact, prices of the vegetables have almost doubled in the city. The demand for vegetables zoomed due to fall in demand for meat which is in turn because of heat and the fishing ban. Cultivation of vegetables has come down by 40 per cent in the current summer season. The price of tomato, one of the cheapest vegetables, has doubled while the prices of other vegetables have also increased from `10 to 20 a kg. All essential vegetables have become dearer compared to the past two months.
The farmers and middlemen say that the prices may not come down till the southwest monsoon brings copious rains to the region. There is a big difference between the prices in the Rythu Bazaar and the retail market. Though the prices are within reach of the common man in the Rythu Bazaars, the the vegetables in the open market have become pricey. The hike in fuel price twice recently is also adding to the vegetable prices.
As it has become a sellers market, the farmers are selling the crop at their fields only. The dealers and buyers offer money for vegetables in bulk much before the harvest. The farmers are also happy to get money for sale of vegetables to dealers.
Meanwhile, some of the seasonal crops like tomato and capsicum are being imported from Karnataka and Rayalaseema and their prices touch over `55 a kg. Till the desi tomato is harvested, expected to rule the market from October, its price will continue to remain high.
The vegetables like brinjal, bottle gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd and lady’s finger are also selling at `50 and above a kg in the retail market. The onion price has also shot up in the retail market.
“We are helpless. Due to hike in the diesel price, the transportation charges have also increased. Meanwhile, as there is a high demand for the veggies, the farmers are also increasing their prices. Because of middlemen the vegetable prices have doubled. The super markets, hotels and hostels purchase the vegetables by offering advance payment to the farmers. In fact, we are adding just `1/2 per kg on the cost price. In fact, we pay money per kg to the wholesaler but there is a loss of 100 gm per each kg in the form of waste,” Ch Lakshmi, a retail vendor said.
There is a difference of `4-5 in the onion price between Rythu Bazaar and the open market. The open market rules at `30 a kg.
“The prices of vegetables will come down only from the peak monsoon season. Till August the prices will be higher by `5 to 10. It is a seasonal and demand-driven market,” said Ch Venkatramudu, a vegetable wholesaler.
The price of lady’s finger will touch `60 a kg as the crop season ends. The prices of some vegetables like pot gourd and bottle gourd will increase in the next two-three weeks, Venkatramudu said. Meanwhile, the middle class feels the pinch of high vegetable prices. The consumption of eggs has nosedived due to the summer impact.
“The price in the retail market is very high. How can a common man live? The government says that the Rythu Bazaar offers the best price. But the existing Rythu Bazaars serve just 20 per cent of the population and the remaining 80 per cent depends on the retail market,” lamented a corporate school teacher Ch Swarna.