Mumbai: Unseasonal rains hike vegetable, fruit prices

The APMC market received only about 30% of vegetable and 50% of fruit supply from the state; traders say that in the next few days, prices could burn a hole in people’s pockets

Unexpected rainfall lashing the state since Saturday has affected the supply of vegetables and fruits to Mumbai. Traders believe for the next few days, prices could burn a hole in people’s pockets, since the APMC market in Vashi received very few trucks, causing vegetable prices to escalate in the wholesale, as well as retail, market on Monday.

Usually, over 500 trucks arrive at APMC market on a daily basis. On Monday it bore an almost deserted look
Usually, over 500 trucks arrive at APMC market on a daily basis. On Monday it bore an almost deserted look

Prices of vegetables including cauliflower, coriander, and leafy vegetables have doubled, while those of tomato and cabbage saw a marginal increase. The grape supply on Monday was almost zero, as farmers in the affected regions had not packed the fruit due to rains.

Vegetable traders said that the market received only 20-30% supply from the state. “Usually, more than 500 vegetable trucks arrive at APMC on a daily basis. However, rains have affected the produce and its quantity. On Monday, prices of a few vegetables doubled and the situation will remain same for few days, until the rains subside,” said Ramdas Pawale, a vegetable trader at the market.

Most of the vegetables are produced across Nashik and Pune district, which were also hit by unseasonal rains. Fruit traders said that supply on Monday was less than 50% and a few kgs of grapes that had arrived in the market were sold for between Rs 900-1000 for 10 kg. “Before the rains, the grapes were sold for Rs 600 for 10 kg in the wholesale market.

Grapes are the most affected among all fruits, and, hence, the price could remain same until the rain subsides. The few grapes that had arrived in the market were dried using hair dryers and sold thereafter,” said Deepak Jaiswal, owner of Jaiswal International fruit block at APMC.

On Monday, grapes were available for Rs 100 per kg in the retail market. Fruit trader Balkrishna Shinde said that due to the rains, pomegranates were not supplied, watermelons were sold for Rs 8 to Rs 10 per kg in the wholesale market while they cost from Rs 11 to Rs 12 last week. Oranges (8 dozen a box), were sold from Rs 150 to Rs 400; they would go for Rs 200 to Rs 450.

One kg of musk melon was priced from Rs 10 to Rs 17; last week, it was going at Rs 20. Shinde said, “Due to the rains, fruits weren’t packed as they were wet. So there was very little supply and there were no takers. Thus, prices went south.” However, exporters at APMC claimed that the export of mangoes would not be affected as the season is yet to begin.

“Mangoes haven’t started arriving in large quantities. The export season starts from mid-March and there was no rain on Monday. We hope that the quality won’t be affected,” said Mohan Dongre, a mango exporter at APMC. The fruit market received less than 100 trucks compared to the usual 150-200 trucks daily.

Expert speak
Mahesh Palavat, chief meteorologist at Skymet weather services, a weather forecasting company, told mid-day, “The interaction of western disturbance with the trough of low pressure over central India was the cause behind the sudden rains over Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and central India. It is a rare and unusual event, and not because of global warming or climate change.”

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