IDUKKI: The sharp rise in the price of vegetables and fruits, a regular side-effect of upcoming festival seasons, is absent in Idukki as Vishu approaches, bringing much relief to consumers. With locally produced vegetables and fruits plentiful in the market, the demand for vegetables from Tamil Nadu and other states is at a minimum and therefore the trend of deliberately jacking up the prices is absent.
“In the vegetable markets of Idukki, the wholesale price of vegetables has come down due to poor demand. Onion which was priced at Rs 80 two weeks ago has come down to Rs 20 as there are no takers, while the price for shallots has come down to Rs 30 from Rs 100 to 150 earlier,” said Jose, a wholesale vegetable dealer in Labbakkada.
“Since the special organic vegetable markets started by cooperative societies, NGOs and residents’ associations supply enough locally produced items, no one is buying the vegetables brought from other states. There is a considerable decrease in sales,” he said.Tomato, carrot, potato, beetroot and beans are now being sold at Rs 30, Rs 16, Rs 22, Rs 20 and Rs 25 respectively, whereas the prices were in the range of Rs 60 to Rs 80 same time last year. The demand for cucumber is high as it is a vital ingredient in Vishukkani.
The main vegetable market at Kanthalloor, in the lone complete vegetable growing village here, is a beehive of activity.
The Vishu market marks the end of the prime harvesting season to prepare the land and sow seeds for the coming Onam season. Truckloads of carrots, onions, beetroots and garlic and various beans varieties reach the market both on horseback and rough terrain vehicles.
Though there is a marked improvement in the arrival for Vishu season with traders from Tamil Nadu and the Horticorp directly taking the produce from the farmers, there is high fluctuation in the prices on each day depending on the availability of the item.
"The prices are low compared to the last season. However, there is a considerable drop in the total production," said Sivakumar, a farmer.
"This season, our harvest was only half the quantity received in the last season. Unfavourable weather conditions and poor rainfall resulted in the wilting of crops, besides the spread of root wilt disease damaging tomatoes cultivated over acres," he said
According to the traders, the price of garlic, which is grown only in Vattavada and Kanthallur villages in the state, was around Rs 100, but it has dropped to 50 per cent of the last season.