Retail prices of banana have spurted by nearly 60 per cent to Rs 40 a dozen in the national Capital in a fortnight due to short supply after large-scale damage to the fruit crop in major producing state of Maharashtra.
The retail prices of banana were ruling at Rs 25 a dozen a fortnight ago, traders said.
"Delhi is facing huge shortage of supply of banana due to large-scale damage to the crop in Maharashtra following over use of land and unseasonal rains," General Secretary of Banana Merchants Association at Azadpur -- Asia's largest fruits & vegetables wholesale market -- Sudesh J Sachdev told PTI.
Against normal daily arrival of around 251 tonnes of banana around this time of the year, Delhi is getting only around 50-70 tonnes now, Sachdev said.
The twice a week 'Banana Express' train service from Jalgaon (Maharashtra) to Azadpur (Delhi), which used to transport 1,512 tonnes of the fruit, has been suspended due to scarcity of the produce, the General Secretary said.
Amid short supply from Maharashtra, Delhi is receiving some amount of the fruit from Andhra Pradesh by road which is expensive. Cost of transportation of banana by truck is almost 100 per cent more than that through train, on which the government provides subsidy, Sachdev added.
The President of Banana Merchants Association, Ramesh Pasandani, said that the shortfall would continue till March end before fresh crop comes from Maharashtra.
Banana is selling at Rs 10-20 per dozen now in the wholesale markets of Delhi, he said. Accordingly the retail price has rocketed to Rs 40/dozen in the national capital.
After mango, banana comes next in rank of popular fruit in India occupying about 13 per cent of the total area and accounting for about 34.2 per cent of the total production of fruits.
India is the largest banana producing country.