Seeing red over tomato prices

Shortage in supply at the APMC market and hike in fuel prices has led to soaring prices of some vegetables
If you thought that the soaring vegetable prices would reduce post Diwali, then here is a reality check. The consecutive hikes in fuel prices and the unpredictable monsoon has caused a shortfall in the vegetable supply to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Market. Traders were expecting a decline in the vegetable prices post Diwali, but increase in freight charges and the unexpected showers have poured water on their dreams. Not only has there been no fall in prices of most vegetables, tomato and brinjal prices have shot up.

Official speak
Confirming that vegetable prices will not reduce till December-end, Shankar Pingle, director of vegetable section, APMC Market, said, "Generally, in November, prices go down due to a good harvest of vegetables all across the country. However, the trend seems to have changed this year. It's been a while since Diwali, and the supply is yet to increase. This is mainly due to the constantly varying monsoon pattern. While some parts of Maharashtra have witnessed excessive rainfall, others have experienced very little or no rain at all. Such conditions directly affect the harvest."

Moreover, the increase in transportation cost has played a crucial role in preventing vegetable prices from falling. "In the last one year, prices of petroleum products have increased significantly and so have the freight rates. Hence, a decrease in price by the farmers does not affect vegetable prices at the APMC market," added Pingle.

The agitation
The ongoing agitation called by the sugarcane farmers in Western Maharashtra, demanding better prices for their crop has also affected the vegetable supply to the APMC Market. The farmers have threatened to stop the supply completely, if the state government fails to do the needful.

R S Gadhavi, deputy secretary of vegetable section, APMC Market, said, "We registered 503 trucks loaded with vegetables on Friday, against the 564 a day before. However, we cannot directly attribute this decline to the rasta roko andolan called by the sugarcane farmers. But there are chances that vegetable farmers citing that the sugarcane farmers could spell trouble during transportation, might have halted their consignments."

Wholesale rates
Vegetables    Aug 7         Nov 14
(10 kg)         in Rs
 Tomato       50-90         180-200 
 Brinjal         80-120       120-160 
Spinach      160-280       180-300

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