This summer, there’s bad news for people who love to eat a lot of fruits to battle dehydration. Along with vegetable production, less rainfall has hit fruit production as well.
As a result, prices of seasonal fruits have almost doubled as compared to last year. Traders at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market in Vashi claim that production of fruits across the country has gone down significantly due to less rainfall, which has led to less supply of summer fruits and a large hike in the prices this year.
Farmers in a fix
Tanveer Khan, a trader at APMC market, said, “Due to less rainfall across the country, farmers have been unable to produce an optimum harvest of fruits. For instance, watermelon, which is available only during the summer, is being sold at Rs 10 per kg in APMC market while musk-melon costs Rs 26 per kg.
However, last year, watermelon was sold at Rs 4 per kg and musk-melon at Rs 12. Similarly, rates of pineapple have increased to Rs 30 per kg from a mere Rs 14 last year. We have come to know that, in most of Maharashtra and the neighbouring states, farmers have not cultivated fruits on their lands because the water level has gone down drastically.”
Not fresh and sweet
Although the oranges being sold at APMC appear ripe from the outside, they are quite raw when cut due to the heavy use of fertilisers and less water. According to traders at the market, farmers demand a high price for fruits claiming that they had to spend a lot of money on fertilisers due to less availability of water. Traders also claim that the demand for fruits at APMC is at a low, which, in turn, is leading to financial losses due to low margins.
The extended winter this year has affected the quality of fruits, too. Traders say that fruits are not sweet this season due to the change in climatic conditions. Subhash Dumare, a trader at APMC market, said, “We have been getting complaints from retailers that the quality of fruits is not as good as it was last year. We then contacted farmers and experts, who told us that the change in climatic conditions are to blame for the deteriorating quality of fruits.”