Vegetable prices have shot up this month in wholesale and retail markets across Maharashtra as supply was disrupted due to floods in major cultivating regions.
The wholesale price of brinjal (round) in Mumbai recorded a 67 per cent increase in less than two weeks to trade at Rs 30 a kg on August 10 as compared to Rs 18 a kg in the beginning of the month. Its price in retail doubled in the same period to trade at Rs 80 a kg. Similarly, prices of okra in Mumbai jumped by 50 per cent and 100 per cent to Rs 45 a kg and Rs 80 a kg in wholesale and retail markets, respectively. Tomato prices in retail are quoted at Rs 80-100 a kg across Mumbai.
Many growers in regions without flooding diverted their supply to other mandis like Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata and prices of a number of vegetables declined in these markets. Commodities such as onion, primarily supplied from Nashik district of Maharashtra, recorded a uniform increase in price across the country because of disruptions in transportation.
“Vegetable price variation is a function of demand and supply. Since their supply disrupted due to floods in Maharashtra, prices of almost all vegetables have risen significantly,” said a senior official at the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), of Vashi, near Mumbai.
Experts estimate nearly 40 per cent damage to kharif-sown vegetables. First, sowing of these crops was impacted due to a three-week delay in monsoon rainfall this season. Second, 90-day vegetable crops got submerged in flood water, as most of the standing plants grew pale.
“Vegetable yield is going to decline by nearly 50 per cent this season due to crop damage. About 40 per cent of standing crop is expected to have been damaged due to floods. Hence, vegetable supply will continue to remain under pressure with their prices at elevated levels,” said Shriram Gadhave, president, Vegetable Growers’ Association.
In Bengaluru, onion prices have jumped 17 per cent and 25 per cent to trade at Rs 13.50 a kg and Rs 25 a kg, respectively.
“Consumers are unlikely to get a respite in the next one-two months from high vegetable prices. A number of farmers in Maharashtra are still stranded in shelter homes, despite receding water level in their homes and vicinity. They would start working in the field only after two-three weeks. Thus, vegetable harvesting, if any, would start only after a month,” said Sanjay Bhujabal, a vegetable wholeseller in Vashi.
Vegetable arrivals at mandis, especially in Maharashtra, have declined by more than 50 per cent since the beginning of the month.