On Tuesday afternoon, Saloni Parekh, 33, went to Crawford Market to buy fruits for her two children. But when the vendor quoted Rs 130 for a kilo of apples, she almost did a rethink.
“The price of the fruits have definitely risen but fruits, milk and vegetables are an important component of basic nutrition," said Parekh.
“If the prices increase further, I might have to cut down on the quantity but I will still have to buy them. With such prices there will be so many who might not be able to afford fruits at all,” she added.
“Sales have dropped by almost 40% as compared to last month. Out of eight people on my staff I had to ask two people to leave,” said Pravin Wagh, 29, a fruit seller at Crawford market.
Wagh has decided to cancel his family vacation to Shimla planned for next month. "With such dismal sales, I had to cancel my plans," said Wagh.
The fruit sellers at Crawford Market attributed the rise in prices to the shortfall in supply of fruits from the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Vashi from where they procure the fruits.
This year, mango prices have shot up to Rs 1,200 a dozen owing to unseasonal rain in December and January leading to spoilage of the crop.
According to Dwarka Sainani, secretary, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandi Fruitwallas' Association, since last year the Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of calcium carbide used to ripen mangoes artificially.
Now the vendors use Ethylene (an organic compound) to ripen the mangoes.
“Ethylene takes almost a week as against three to four days that calcium carbide takes to ripen the mangoes. This leads to mangoes getting spoilt. The vendor has no choice but to pass on the cost to the customer," said Sainani.
“The price of mangoes this year is almost 30% to 40% higher than last year. But as this is a seasonal fruit, I will buy mangoes but lesser than usual," said Trideep Mukherjee, a media professional.
“What is cheap these days? The prices are high but as the mangoes are seasonal fruits, we will still buy them,” said Aarti Parasrampuria, a Wadala resident.