Tamil Nadu: Summer rain, dip in arrival leads to hike of veggie prices in south districts

If cultivation is carried out throughout the year, then the prices will remain normal.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

MADURAI/THENI/VIRUDHUNAGAR/TENKASI: Dip in arrival of vegetables has led to major fluctuations in vegetable prices across Madurai in the recent weeks, with prices of almost all veggies crossing Rs 50/kg. Terming the price surge as seasonal, considering the regular drop in local cultivation during summers every year, experts urged the state government to take action towards addressing irrigation woes to ensure vegetable cultivation throughout the year.

According to sources, a severe surge of vegetable price remains a major issue during every mid-year, particulary in the case of Madurai and other southern markets, which mainly rely on other state markets to meet their vegetable needs. For instance in Madurai market, a 15 kg crate of tomatoes was sold at Rs 150 (Rs 10/kg) in early May this year, while the prices of other vegetables stood at normal levels.

However, unseasonal rainfall took a toll on the cultivation in the district, forcing the markets to rely on Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka markets, thereby causing a hike in prices. By June first week, the tomato prices fluctuated and went above Rs 800/crate. It may be noted that only 30-40 % of vegetables are procured from local cultivators in Madurai.

"For the past couple of weeks, the arrival of vegetables has been down by 50% in Madurai central market due to unseasonal rainfall. On Friday, tomato price stood at Rs 500/15 kg crate. The prices of beans, coriander and broad beans are well above Rs 100/kg, and the retail prices of veggies are close to 10% higher than the wholesale prices," said N Chinnamayan, president of the Central Market All Traders Federation in Madurai. The prices are expected to return to normalcy by July-August with the beginning of the harvest season. But, if unseasonal rainfall occurs in coming weeks, the prices may go up further, he added.

Speaking to TNIE, S Manuel Jayaraj, president of Madurai Central Market Vegetable and Perishable Commodities Merchants Coordinated Association in Paravai, said, "The drop in arrival usually occurs from May month till June and we have to rely on other state markets. For instance, at present the arrival of potatoes has dropped to 3,000 kg from normal arrival of 4,500 kg. Moreover, the demand for onions are also going up gradually."

He opined that the lack of availability of vegetables from local cultivators is the one of the reasons for the price hike, and urged the union and state governments to resolve the irrigation woes of farmers as a permanent solution. If cultivation is carried out throughout the year, then the prices will remain normal.

When contacted, a trader at Alangulam vegetable market in Tenkasi said that the price of beans has gone up to Rs 140/kg now. "We are acquiring beans from Hosur. Its price was around Rs 50/kg two weeks ago, when the supply was normal. However, a sudden drop in supply was witnessed due to unseasonal rainfall and scorching sun. Due to this the price skyrocketed, and we stopped transporting beans to Kerala to ensure that local stores are getting enough supply," he added.

Further, traders from Virudhunagar stated that in Virudhunagar market, wholesale and retail prices of vegetables faced a massive hike in the recent weeks. For instance, the price of a potato sold in the wholesale market was around Rs 50- 80/kg and in retail it's around Rs 100/kg. Both carrot and bean prices have gone past Rs 100/kg.

In Thoothukudi, prices of various vegetables, including shallots, carrots, beans, and cabbage, have doubled, while that of chilly tripled from Rs 40 to Rs 120/kg, tomato from Rs 20/kg to Rs 55/kg, and coriander leaves Rs 60 to Rs 150/kg. "The unexpected heavy rains in the vegetable cultivated areas of Hosur and various Karnataka districts, has affected the arrival of the vegetables in Thoothukudi," said Newton, manager of Kamarajar vegetable market. He added that the situation may ease in two weeks.

Madurai Price details (as on June 14) (per kilo)

  • Tomato Rs 30 - 50

  • Brinjal Rs 30 - 50

  • Onion Rs 30 - 45

  • Shallots Rs 60 -70

  • Coriander Rs 120

  • Ginger Rs 160

  • Carrot Rs 20 - 50

  • Beans Rs 140

  • Potato Rs 40 - 60

  • Cabbage Rs 40

  • broad beans Rs 130 - 150

Source: Madurai Mattuthavani market

Madurai Price details (on May 14) (per kilo)

  • Tomato Rs 15 - 25 Rs

  • Brinjal Rs 30 - 40

  • Onion Rs 20 - 30

  • Shallots Rs 40 - 60

  • Coriander Rs 70

  • Ginger Rs 140

  • Carrot Rs 20 - 50

  • Beans Rs 100

  • Potato Rs 40 - 50

  • Cabbage Rs 30

  • broad beans Rs 110 - 120

Source: Madurai Mattuthavani market

Vegetable prices in Theni market (As on June17)

  • Onion(small): Rs 65

  • Onion (big) : Rs 40

  • Tomato : Rs 70

  • Brinjal : Rs 30

  • Ladies finger: Rs 35

  • Carrot : Rs 45

  • cabbage : Rs 42

  • Coriander : Rs 120

  • Ginger : Rs 160

    Source: Madurai Mattuthavani market

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