Food prices have gone up by nearly 15 per cent in the last six months.
The official inflation rate may be just above zero, crossing the mark just a fortnight ago after weeks in the negative. But it bears no relation to the prices of sugar, wheat, milk or vegetables — especially potatoes — that have steadily spiralled.
Official data shows wholesale food prices have grown by about 14.8 per cent (see graphic on P6) since March, contributing to higher household bills.
This rise, however, is only partly visible in the overall inflation rate because the impact of these commodities is just 15.4 per cent. In other words, these prices will have to rise by 6.5 times to effect a 1 percentage point increase in inflation rate.
On an average, prices of vegetables have increased by nearly 85 per cent while sugar is costlier by nearly 30 per cent.
Experts attribute this to “poor monsoons and traders not willing to release adequate supplies in the wholesale market,” said S Bhonde, additional director of Nashik-based National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation.
In August, wholesale markets got 1.77 million quintals of potatoes, down 20 per cent from last year’s 2.2 million quintals.