Even as the wholesale prices of most vegetables have reduced compared to last year, their prices in retail markets have increased substantially this festive season.
Likewise, the retail prices of most fruits are almost the double their price in the wholesale market. While the prices of cabbage, cauliflower, French beans, lady fingers, cucumber and carrot have decreased in the wholesale market in as compared to the corresponding period last year, their prices in the retail market have been on rise. Vendors cite shortage in produce caused by the drought as the reason for the high prices.
The wholesale price of green peas is Rs 60-80 per kg, marginally more than (Rs 50-70) last September, but in retail market it is being sold at Rs 160-200 a kg. The onion prices, meanwhile, have come down to Rs 44-53 per kg in wholesale market but in retail market, it is still sold for Rs 70per kg.
Tomatoes were priced at Rs 26-32 a kg last September in the wholesale market. On Wednesday, it was sold between Rs 11 and Rs 13 at the Agricultural Produce Marketing Corporation (APMC), Vashi. In the retail market, however, tomatoes are being sold at Rs 40 a kg.
“Vendors are charging exorbitantly for all vegetables. If we ask them the reason, they said wholesale prices have gone up and they are short in supply,” said Sunita Desai, a Dadar resident.
With fruit prices skyrocketing, residents said the festive season will see a further jump in the prices. Residents said the consumption of fruits will increase in the next 10 days, and despite a rise in the prices, they have no choice.
“Generally vegetable and fruit consumption goes up during festive seasons and so the retail rates also rise as vendors try to make profits. We have been asking the state government to control the prices in retail market or develop alternate system but nothing has been done so far,” said Anuradha Deshpande, a member of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP).
Milind Akare, managing director of Maharashtra state agriculture marketing board, said, “We are planning to roll out farmer-producer markets in Mumbai like we have done in Pune by December end. Around 540 farmer-producer societies are likely to participate in it.”