October rains send veggie prices soaring

If you were expecting some relief from the soaring prices of vegetables, sometime soon, think again. Mother Nature is causingmore problems for the common man, as the sudden, heavy rains have led to the new crop rotting or getting damaged, leadingto a price rise.

Gone bad: The new onions in the market are wet, affecting their lifespan and eventually leading the produce to rot

For instance, yesterday, the price of onions at the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) market was Rs 50. Prices are not expected to decrease any time soon. Explaining what had gone wrong, an agricultural expert said, “Most vegetables are a 90-day crop and once they are ready it is important to take them out. However, if there is water in the fields, it is difficult for farmers to harvest the crop, because of which the vegetables could be affected.”

Making us cry
In the case of onions, most traders said that this was the time that farmers reaped the new crop, but owing to the heavy rains since the beginning of October, a lot of the crop had been destroyed, leading to the price rise.

When MiD DAY visited the (APMC) market, 60 trucks containing new onions were brought in from places like Hubli, Belgaum, Dharwad and Vijaywada whereas another 20 trucks contained old onions from Pune and Nashik.

Richa Pinto

A trader at the market explained, “Onions are a three-month crop, which requires good rainfall during seeding and less rainfall at harvesting time. But, owing to the sudden rains, the yield has been affected.”

Traders added that unlike previous years, the number of trucks coming to the market had also gone down, which was also forcing the prices to rise.

The damaged crop has also led to the price rise, traders said. One trader said that even though new produce was coming in, a lot of it was wet, causing the onions to rot.

Amit Ladkar, a trader at the market, said that among the 60 trucks carrying the new crop, only 20 trucks’ worth of onions were fit for consumption. “The rains are to be blamed for this, as it has affected the crop. Prices normally stabilise post Navratri, but it doesn’t appear to be doing so this time around.

Tulsidas Chaudhary, a retailer from a market in Vashi, added, “The new onions are a bit wet, owing to which the lifespan is short, and they tend to get spoilt sooner.”

Other veggies
Besides onions, the cost of other vegetables, such as beans and drumsticks, has also increased. The agricultural expert said that not only the rains but also the recent floods in Gujarat were the reason behind the price hike.

He added that even the price of peas had increased significantly, and attributed the rise to the fact that the produce was only coming in from Himachal Pradesh, as of now, and it would only be after the monsoon that the new produce from areas such as Punjab and Madhya Pradesh would enter the city.

Ramesh Dattir, a vegetable trader from APMC, said, “The rains are definitely to be blamed for the high prices of vegetables that are not coming in at all. The arrival of trucks in the last two days has been good, but not this is not enough. We are looking forward to the prices stabilising sometime soon.” 

1 lakh bAmount of vegetables sent to the 121 subsidised vegetable centres in the city

1,800 tonnes The amount of vegetables supplied to Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Raigad from the APMC on a daily basis

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