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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Rain deficit, spike in demand push up vegetables prices

G Mohiuddin Jeddy, Vaishnavi Vasudevan and Sanjana Bhalerao, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 13, 2012
First Published: 01:06 IST(13/7/2012) | Last Updated: 01:07 IST(13/7/2012)

For those unhappy with the rising prices of vegetables owing to the shortage of rainfall in the state, there’s worse news. Prices could rise further as the month of Shravan begins next week.

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Deficient rainfall in central Maharashtra has pushed up prices of common vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes and lady’s finger, which have shown a jump of Rs5-10 since June 29 (see box). Though the monsoon arrived in the state a month ago, several regions are yet to receive adequate rainfall, a shortfall that has greatly affected the agriculture crop.

The wholesale Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market at Vashi that supplies vegetables to Mumbai and its surrounding areas receives its supply primarily from Nasik and Pune districts. These regions have had little rainfall in crop growing areas, which has in turn affected production.

“While 500 to 550 vehicles usually arrive at the market daily, the number has gone down to around 400 now. Even though there has been a healthy amount of rain for a few days, this will only cause a drop in prices after a few weeks,” said Ramdas Pawle, a wholesaler at the APMC market. “The demand for vegetables goes up in the month of Shravan, as a number of people give up non-vegetarian food. With Shravan starting next week, there could be further rise in prices due to the increased demand.”

Rising wholesale prices have subsequently caused all sorts of problems for retailers and homemakers alike. “The stock that we get lasts just one day in this weather, the rest rots. Hence we have to increase our prices to cover the cost,” said Sandeep Shinde, a vegetable vendor in Kopar Khairane.

Bandra resident, Sneha M said, “The sudden rise in price disturbs my monthly budget. How is the middle class supposed to cope?”

Prachi Kapoor who supplies tiffin services to students, said “I am left with two choices, either I increase my prices and lose customers, or face loss.”

Though prices of most vegetables have increased, a few such as cauliflower and brinjal have dropped a little bit.


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