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Rising prices hit offtake at Asia's largest veg market

T E Narasimhan & Gireesh Babu  |  Chennai 

The recent increases in vegetable prices and rainfall in the southern states has hit the Koyambedu wholesale market here, one of the largest in Asia for fruits, flowers and vegetables.

According to representatives of this market, the daily volumes have come down by 30 per cent. The number of trucks used to bring vegetables has come down to 200 a day, from 500 till recently.

Members from this market have asked the government to set up a committee to look into the issues.

Onion retail prices were at Rs 100 per kg and are now down to Rs 60 per kg, after the Union government’s export ban. The wholesale price has risen to Rs 55 per kg, due to shortage of supply from neighbouring states, said market sources.

“Further, prices of several other vegetables, including carrots, beans, drumstick, tomato and brinjal has seen a 50 per cent increase,” said V R Soundararajan, advisor, Chennai Koyambedu Onion Wholesale Traders Association.

Potatoes, elephant yam and colocasia have gone through a 30 per cent price increase this year, he added.

The market supplies vegetables to 92 regional markets, covering a 100-km diameter around. Average sales would be around Rs 10 crore a day. It houses 350 wholesalers and 1,300 retailers.

Earlier, almost 7,500 tonnes of onion came to the market daily; it is now 4,500 tonnes. Those sourced from Andhra Pradesh cost Rs 45 per kg, while that from Karnataka is Rs 55 per kg and from Maharashtra around Rs 60 per kg.

The easy sourcing from Andhra Pradesh is the factor which lowered the price from last week, which otherwise would have remained very high, said S Babu, a wholesaler.

Tomato supply has been affected, too. It is normally sourced from parts of Karnataka and Andhra, but these parts have been affected by rain. According to A Selvaraj, a wholesaler, the number of trucks bringing tomato has come down to 40, while it was 80 only a fortnight earlier.

First Published: Fri, December 31 2010. 00:39 IST