Delayed rains, high-temperature impact vegetable prices in Telangana
Rates of chilli, bean and tomato range from Rs 75 to Rs 105; officials suggest implementation of mitigation measures
HYDERABAD: The escalating prices of vegetables in the city are a direct reflection of the impact of climate change on our food systems, said experts. The State has witnessed unpredictable weather patterns, heatwaves and delayed monsoons, all of which have adversely affected the output of various crops, resulting in higher costs of vegetables and fruits, they add.
At Erragadda Rythu Bazar, green chillies were being sold at Rs 75 per kg on Thursday, while different varieties of beans ranged from Rs 75 to Rs 105 per kg. Meanwhile, the prices of tomatoes fluctuated between Rs 67 and Rs 80 per kg throughout the week.
Shekar Goud, a vegetable vendor at Erragadda Rythu Bazar, said, “Though the prices of vegetables usually increase every year during this season, this year the prices are even higher. Over the past 10 days, the rates have risen because of the delayed rains.”
Experts point out that vegetables play a critical role in ensuring food and nutritional security, but their high perishability coupled with the effects of climate change makes them increasingly expensive, making them unaffordable for the poor. A study titled ‘Impact of Climate Change on Vegetable Crops and its Mitigation’ emphasised the necessity of breeding techniques and biotechnology to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on the productivity and quality of vegetable crops.
The impact of high temperatures on tomato productivity includes reduced fruit sets and smaller, lower-quality fruits, while potatoes may experience a complete inhibition of tuber formation.
Manga, a horticulture officer, highlighted the sensitivity of vegetable crops to climatic uncertainties, stating that sudden temperature increases can negatively affect flowering, pollination, and the development of fruits, ultimately leading to decreased crop yields.
“The flowering drop occurs every year during the summers in many vegetables like tomatoes, brinjal, and chillies, among others. The farmers usually plan the seedling and other farming activities in the hope that the temperatures will be normal in a few weeks, but with the delayed rains, the production of the vegetables is also affected,” she added.
Additionally, high temperatures adversely affect the quality of vegetables, resulting in a pale appearance, reduced moisture content, and both biological and physiological effects, the officer said, adding that sudden heavy rains and strong winds also cause damage to crops.
“Employing shade net farming, which involves using a synthetic fibre net made of HDPE plastic, can mitigate the intensity of direct sunlight based on crop requirements. This technique benefits agricultural products such as plants, vegetables, fruits and flowers by providing protection from birds, insects and adverse weather conditions. However, due to the slightly higher investment required, farmers are generally hesitant to adopt this method. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop climate-resilient strategies specifically designed for marginal and lower-income farmers,” Manga suggested.
Unaffordable for the poor
- Experts said vegetables play a critical role in ensuring food and nutritional security
- But, their high perishability coupled with the effects of climate change makes them increasingly expensive, making them unaffordable for the poor.
- The State has witnessed unpredictable weather patterns, heatwaves and delayed monsoons, all of which have adversely affected the output of various crops, resulting in higher costs of vegetables and fruits
- Potatoes may experience an inhibition of tuber formation due to high mercury levels