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Hailstorm effect: Expect a 30 per cent rise in vegetable, fruit prices

Traders say that all crops standing in the fields, whether fruits or vegetables, have been damaged by the unseasonable rainfall and hail, and prices could soar in a fortnight.

The weather gods are up to their tricks again, pulling at your purse strings and wreaking havoc in your kitchen. Traders in the APMC market say that all produce that grows above the ground has been affected, the effect of which will be perceptible in the markets within a fortnight from now. Fewer trucks laden with greens and fruits are expected to be driving into the city.

Vegetable and fruit

Sanjay Pansare, director of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) in Vashi, said, “Grapes, bananas and pomegranate production has been hit badly on account of these unseasonable rains and hailstorms. Crops spread over hectares of land have been damaged.

Grapes, Pomegranate and Orange

We are anticipating a 30 per cent hike in prices, but the exact price rise would be gauged in 8-10 days. With summer round the corner, people crave fruits. But if prices increase, it could be a big disappointment for the common man.”

Apple, Watermelon and Sweet Lime

Kesar mangoes are said to have been affected badly. Usually, nine to 10 tonnes of this variety enter the wholesale markets during peak season, from places like Aurangabad and Latur.

The damage was mostly done by the hailstones that fell on the ripe crops, days before they were ready to be plucked. Shankar Pingale, director of the vegetable market, said, “The market receives tomatoes from Latur, cucumber from Solapur and leafy vegetables from Nashik, all of which have been affected by hailstones and untimely rains. The price rise would be understood in about 10 days, if there is a drop in the number of trucks and tempos carrying greens.”

Top traders fear that the quality of produce entering the market will also be affected. Ajit Bhorade, another trader from Vashi APMC, said, “Presently in the wholesale market, tomatoes are being sold at Rs 6 per kg, but with the damaged produce reaching the market, there is sure to be a shortage soon. In wholesale market, the price may go up to Rs 12 per kg. Pune zilla is a huge supplier of fresh greens, and therefore, the hailstones and rains are a cause of concern to everyone.”

What comes from where
Grapes:
 Sangli, Solapur
Pomegranate: Nashik, Sangli and Pune
Oranges: Nagpur
Tomato: Latur
Cucumber: Solapur
Leafy vegetables: Nashik
Kesar mangoes: Aurangabad 

Retail prices of vegetables
Onion: Rs 16 per kg
Potato: Rs 20 per kg
Tomato: Rs 15 per kg
Lemon: Rs 2 each
Capsicum: Rs 60 per kg
Cabbage: Rs 20 per kg
Cauliflower: Rs 20 per kg
Brinjal: Rs 20 per kg
Cucumber: Rs 20 per kg
Carrot: Rs 16 per kg
Bottle gourd : Rs 20 per kg
Peas: Rs 30 per kg
Beetroot: Rs 30 per kg
Ginger: Rs 100 per kg
Chilli: Rs 40 per kg
Bitter gourd: Rs 40 per kg
Lady’s finger: Rs 40 per kg
Broadbeans: Rs 40 per kg 


Expert opinion 
Dr Himanshu, economist, Jawarharlal Nehru University
If shortage is anticipated, then the government needs to be watchful from now. Being watchful here would mean that they keep an eye on traders, and stop them from hoarding the produce, which may raise the prices. Now itself, the government can import from the international market. The demand-supply ratio would matter greatly here in understanding the extent to which prices go up.

Umakant Dangat, state agriculture commissioner
All crops standing in the field, whether fruits or vegetables, have been affected because of the rains and hailstones in certain parts of Maharashtra. This will adversely affect the farmers and could create a
shortage in supply. It is too early to say if prices will be affected.

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