Hina Datta, a housewife living in a south Delhi colony, is a worried woman. These days, Datta has to shell out 40% more for vegetable shopping compared with what she paid last year.
With vegetable prices soaring despite a good monsoon, households across the country are feeling the pinch. To help thousands of people who have been left with a burning hole in their pockets, fair trade regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has decided to look into the operations of the agriculture markets to ensure that there is no cartelisation or unfair play in the determination of vegetable prices.
“We are collecting all the details and data to analyse the pricing pattern and the role of traders to see if there are any discrepancies. Generally if there are early and good rains, supply and prices should ease,” a CCI member said.
In case of agriculture products, the role of traders is of extreme importance, which needs to be scrutinised, he added.
High vegetable prices affect not only farmers and consumers but even policymakers as they have a spillover effect on the other sectors as well. “Agriculture markets should function effectively and our aim is to ensure that both farmers and consumers are getting a fair deal,” CCI member Geeta Gouri told HT.
According to the anti-trust body, recent price hikes in some cases did not match the fundamentals of demand and supply, fuelling the need for the regulator to study agriculture market structures across the country.
In 2011, the CCI had decided to look into the pricing pattern in the onion markets.