Vegetables prices in Mumbai and Delhi wholesale markets increased in July after supply fell because of poor rainfall in western India and floods in Bihar and the north-east.
Hybrid tomato in the Mumbai wholesale market was selling at Rs 18 a kg on Wednesday--a 50 per cent rise from early this month. The price of locally-grown tomato in the Delhi wholesale market increased by 82 per cent to Rs 30.50 a kg on Wednesday compared to the price early July.
Cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal prices too have sharply increased, worrying policy makers and consumers alike.
“While some pockets in Maharashtra have received good rainfalls this monsoon season, major vegetable supplying regions including Nashik remained deficient. Farmers were quick to assess deficiency after almost three weeks of delay in the onset of monsoon rains this year. Consumers would have no respite from high vegetables prices till widespread monsoon rainfalls resume across major producing regions,” said Anil Chavan, secretary of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Mumbai.
Sources said farmers in Maharashtra are reluctant to start sowing after many of them lost crops in some parts of Maharashtra last year when rains failed. Farmers in other parts in the state could not harvest vegetables after the first round of picking, resulting into crop failure of over 50-60 per cent.
“Consumers are unlikely to get respite from high vegetables prices for over a month. Farmers, who have sown seed with the onset of the monsoon rainfalls, will get the first output in the next 45 days with an average crop cycle of 90 days. Hence, vegetables supply is going to boost only in 30-45 days,” said Shriram Gadhave, president of the Pune-based Vegetable Growers Association.
Vegetable supply from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is poor because of heavy rainfall and flood in the two states respectively.
Cauliflower supply, for example, slumped to 18.2 tonnes on July 17 compared to 22.5 tonnes in the beginning of the month. Bitter gourd supply fell to a 2.6 tonnes from 6.1 tonnes.
Retail vegetable markets, however, have not been impacted as price movement from the wholesale market takes about a week to spill over.
Meanwhile, vegetables demand is going to pick up during the holy month of Shravan amid supply concerns.
Data compiled by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) showed 14 per cent deficiency in cumulative rainfalls during the period between June 1 and July 10. With the rainfalls have started gradually improving, the overall sowing of vegetables is likely to improve in the weeks to come.