Vegetable prices go through the roof, bring tears to consumers

Unseasonal rainfall and intense heatwave conditions for past few weeks squeeze supply chain in Guntur, people suffer as vegetable prices double in past 10 days
Representational Image
Representational Image

GUNTUR: The inadequate rainfall and spell of an intense heatwave for the past few weeks has been taking a toll on the household budgets as the prices of vegetables are hitting the roof in the district. While unseasonal rains have severely affected the production of various vegetables squeezing the supply chain, the heatwave conditions have taken a  toll on the horticulture crops resulting in poor yield.

Moreover, the increase in demand for vegetables due to the wedding season and the reopening of educational institutions has proved to be a double whammy for consumers as the prices continue to spiral. “The slump in supply and rise in demand for vegetables have further led to prices shooting up,” opined Rambabu, a trader at Chuttugunta Rythu Bazaar.

It is learnt that the prices of beans, bottle gourd, tomatoes, brinjal and other vegetables have doubled in the last 10 days at Rythu Bazaars due to a lack of supply. Beans have topped the chart with a retail price touching Rs 130 per kg, which was earlier being sold at Rs 75/kg, ten days back. Similarly, the prices of mint and coriander leaves have also climbed up in the last couple of weeks.

The prices of raw mangoes also surged due to a drop in the arrival of mangoes following rains and hailstorms in several parts of the state. Summer also led to a rise in the demand of lemons, which are being sold at Rs 5 per piece instead of Rs 3 per piece.  The prices of bottle guard doubled in the last week and is being sold at Rs 20 per piece. Along with this, the prices of brinjal, ladies finger and bitter gourd also hiked.

There are as many as 11 Rythu Bazaars in the district including, six in Tenali, three in Guntur, one each in Mangalagiri and Ponnuru. Most of the vegetable stock that is supplied to these Rythu Bazaars arrive from Nara Koduru, Suddapalli, Kolakaluru, Nandivelugu, Vetapalem, Manchikalapudi, Ponnuru, and Jampani.

The traders are of the opinion that vegetables, which are brought early in the morning, have been wilting due to the hot winds. This in turn has been hitting the sale of the veggies. “The struggle to retain the freshness of the vegetables is real. With no respite from the heatwave, the consumers though turn up for shopping, end up not purchasing wilted vegetables. This has grossly impacted the sale in bulk amount,” said Rambabu, a trader in Chuttugunta Rythu Bazaar. He further said that this situation might continue until there is a drop in temperature.

Meanwhile, the high prices have made consumers more selective when it comes to buying vegetables. Radha Ramani, a private school teacher, stated, “Even though we are spending extra money on vegetables, we are not getting the fresh ones. We have to go all the way to main market near GMC office at the crack of dawn if we want fresh vegetables. This is putting extra burden on our monthly expenses.”

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The New Indian Express