SAMBALPUR: Vegetable prices have shot up in the local markets as supply was disrupted due to incessant rains in source cities across the country in the last few weeks. The hiked prices have emerged as a major concern for residents who are preparing for Nuakhai scheduled on September 3.
Onion, which is procured from Nashik in Maharashtra, is being sold at Rs 35 to Rs 40 a kg. Similarly, cauliflower and cabbage which are sourced from Bhilai and Ranchi are priced between Rs 40 and Rs 50. Price of green chillies and coriander have doubled up to Rs 100 to Rs 120 per kg. Even the locally grown vegetables are being sold at an excess of Rs 8 to Rs 15 in the mandi.
A wholesale vegetable vendor in Sambalpur, Dilip Sahu said, “Erratic rainfall is affecting the production, due to which farmers are selling the limited stock of vegetables at higher prices.” Until last week they procured locally grown vegetables like bottle gourd, field beans and brinjal below Rs 10 but now the prices have increased three times now, he added.
“It is rare for vegetable prices to soar during this time of the year. Every year after Shravan month, demand for vegetables goes down until Nuakhai,” Dilip added. Neither the vendor are getting adequate margin, nor are customers buying in regular quantity leading to the rise in prices.
Another retail vegetable vendor of Gole Bazaar in the city, Tekadharnath who procures vegetables from Barahguda Market in Bargarh said, the involvement of middlemen is another reason for the price rise. Nath said, earlier growers sold the produces at genuine prices but as the middlemen are paying the farmers in advance and procuring all of it at once, the prices at the mandi have been affected. “At present, the ratio of farmers and middlemen in the mandi is 50:50. As the middlemen do not let us bargain, we are forced to buy from them at their fixed price and sell it at an excess of Rs 8 to Rs 10,” he added.
The vendors said the prices are expected to go up further a day or two before Nuakhai as it is one of the biggest festivals of the region.