Using hailstorm and unseasonal rain that hit different parts of Maharashtra around a fortnight ago as an excuse, retailers have upped the prices of vegetables and fruits in Mumbai, although the wholesale rates have risen only marginally.
From Rs 20-30 a kg last week, tomatoes were sold at Rs 40-60 a kg in the retail market on Monday. Prices of other vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower, too, went up to Rs 60 a kg, from Rs 20 a kg last week. Cluster beans, French beans, brinjal and lady’s fingers were sold at Rs 80-100 a kg, even at Rs 120 a kg in areas such as Cuffe Parade, Fort and Bandra. The rise in prices is likely to stay for the next few days, said sources.
The price of mangoes, which were available for Rs 200-600 a dozen in the wholesale market last year, has gone up to Rs 300-Rs 1,000, and is likely to remain in the range throughout the season, as the unseasonal rain has affected the produce that was to arrive in the market in April-May.
The price of grapes is likely to double in April. Currently, grapes are being sold at Rs 50-100 a kg in the wholesale market owing to its poor quality.
“The farmers are suffering substantial losses because of the hailstorm. Their produce is being sold at almost half its price. They hope to recover the money in April, once their fresh produce enters the market,” said Sanjay Pansare, a wholesale trader of fruits in APMC, Vashi.
Shankar Pingale, a wholesale trader, said, “We are getting 550-600 vehicles of vegetables from other states. The prices will remain high at least for one more month.”
In view of the situation, consumer forums want the state government to intervene and create a stabilisation fund that can be used to store the crop where there is good yield.
“We will seek state intervention to cut down on profiteering by retailers. We want the state to appoint a price monitoring board for the retail and wholesale market, so that a sudden dip or rise doesn’t go unchecked,” said Shirish Deshpande, chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.