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Vegetables plunge by up to 44% the past three week on surge in arrivals

Tue July 07 2020



Vegetable prices have declined about 44 per cent over the past three weeks because of a sharp increase in arrivals of new crops. Besides, there has also been a reduction in mandi arrivals as farmers and aggregators are supplying directly to consumers.


The data compiled by the National Horticulture Board showed okra prices fell 44 per cent in Bengaluru to Rs 9 a kg on Monday, as against Rs 16 a kg on June 16. At the wholesale mandi in Mumbai, okra prices plunged 37.5 per cent to trade at Rs 20 a kg on Monday, as against Rs 32 a kg three weeks ago. Prices of vegetables like brinjal, cabbage, and cauliflower have also declined sharply since the start of Unlock 1.


“Vegetable prices have declined due to bumper arrivals. The current price decline has worsened farmers’ financial condition, which was destroyed in March-April because of mandi closures, labour and logistics problems,” said Sriram Gadhave, president of the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI).


Farmers couldn’t harvest the first cycle of summer crop in March because of the lockdown. “Now, the new cycle of crop is arriving. With the government allowing sales of essential commodities directly to consumers, farmers have come together to become aggregators. They are supplying fresh produce to bulk and retail consumers. However, farmers are still facing acute labour shortage for harvesting, loading and unloading of fresh vegetable produce,” said Jaysingh Waykar, a Pune-based farmer.


At the Azadpur mandi, barring cauliflower, which became cheaper by 10 per cent, wholesale prices of almost all vegetables were higher amidst supply disruptions from nearby states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan.


Normally, vegetables prices move up with the onset of the monsoon because of a disruption in transport from farms to mandis. However, the government has abolished mandatory supply of farm produce to mandis.


“With the water table high because of a normal monsoon last year and favourable rains during


rabi sowing season, the progress of horticulture crops was very good, resulting in bumper production of perishables this year.


While arrivals have declined at mandis as farmers are supplying directly to consumers, overall supply of vegetables has increased.


Now, future price movement will depend on the intensity of rains, which may disrupt transportation,” said Sunil Singatkar, director of the Vashi APMC.


In most cases, however, retail consumers are paying higher prices in the absence of direct procurement from aggregator or farmers.


Cabbage for example, has become costlier by 20 per cent and is trading at Rs 60 a kg in the retail market in Mumbai, as compared to Rs 50 a kg three weeks ago. Onions are selling at Rs 25 a kg, compared with Rs 15 a kg on June 16.



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