The hot months of May, June and July always witness a fluctuation in the prices of vegetables, but this year the delay in the monsoon has made the difference quite evident.
Prices of some basic vegetables like potatoes, onions and tomatoes that are used on a daily basis have gone up while those consumed seasonally have remained the same and, in some cases, also gone down.
One of the basic reasons of such a difference is varying demand of the vegetables. Onion, tomato and potato are consumed throughout the year and since the local stock of these vegetable ends soon, Punjab is mostly dependent on its neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh for their supply.
According to some vegetable wholesalers, in Himachal Pradesh also, there has been more than 30% shortage in rainfall and this has affected the crop very badly.
“Delay in rainfall has affected almost all the states in the country, including the colder states like Himachal Pradesh. This eventually affects prices of vegetables. Even in HP, prices have gone up,” said SK Kumar, vegetable retailer in Maqsuda Mandi.
Since the traders are getting vegetables at higher prices than last year, the prices in the market have gone considerably higher.
“The prices of tomato and onion have gone up as compared to last month but it has not affected our business a lot since onion and tomato are basic food items and used in all Indian households. Even if there is a price rise, people will buy it. Though people complain about the price rise, we have not faced any loss in the business,” Kumar said.
Nancy Sharma, a housewife said, “Price rise in the vegetable is a big problem for us. Food is the basic need and even if the prices are high, we have to purchase vegetables. We get a fixed salary but the prices of vegetables and other commodities are considerably increasing. It becomes difficult for us to manage our kitchen.”
Dimpi Sachdeva, a wholesaler, said that if a weak monsoon continues, the prices of some vegetables in the future can reach up to Rs. 100 per kg. “The region desperately needs rains if we want to see the stability in prices of vegetables,”he said.