Buying veggies burns a hole in soaring heat, dry weather

By Times Of India on 25 May 2018 | read
PUNE: Prices of several vegetables in the city have begun to shoot up as the summer heat packs in and in the absence of pre-monsoon showers.

Some daily-use vegetables like cauliflower, beans, gourd and cluster beans have touched Rs 80 per kg, while peas, French beans and kidney beans are at a high Rs 100 per kg in some areas.


Potato prices have also risen, so much so, that wholesale market sources said it is for the first time in three years that wholesale prices of the tuber have gone up to Rs 180-Rs 200 per 10 kg from the usual Rs 70-Rs 80 per 10 kg.

Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) sources and vegetable vendors said the heat increasing in parts of state, dry weather coupled with water shortage have affected production of several vegetables, leading to short supplies in the wholesale market.

N D Ghule, assistant secretary of APMC, told TOI that wholesale prices of potatoes have risen to this level after three years.

“Leafy vegetables like coriander, fenugreek and dill do not grow well in excessive heat and water paucity conditions. Similarly, vegetables like okra, cluster beans, brinjal, cauliflower, peas, chillies are currently in short supply due to water scarcity in growing regions as well as increase in summer heat,” Ghule added.

Supplies of okra, cluster beans and brinjal have dipped by 10-15%, while tomatoes too have recorded a 10% reduction in supply. He said the number of trucks coming to supply vegetables to the wholesale market have also reduced in number.

Ghule said only farms having adequate water availability are currently able to supply vegetables, while supplies from farms that do not have enough water are suffering. “Vegetable crops need a good amount of water to grow, but in some areas, borewell water levels are receding,” he said.

Dilip Khaire, chief administrator of APMC-Pune said vegetable prices usually rise each year in May by 5% to 10%, when summer heat increases and some regions face shortage of water.

APMC officials said though supplies from outside Maharashtra are normal, vegetables coming from within the state are registering a shortage. Pune APMC gets its vegetable supplies from various pockets in Pune district as well as from Solapur, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur.

Yakub Pathan, owner of Fresh Vegetable Market in Wakad, said the retail price of potatoes has gone up from Rs 20 to Rs 25 recently, while peas have risen to Rs 100 from the Rs 40 per kg they were being sold at a month ago.

“Supplies in the wholesale market seem short by around 45% currently, mainly because of high summer heat and consequent spoilage of vegetables,” said Pathan.

Inderjan Sen, a vendor in Koregaon Park, said, “A week ago, cauliflower was being sold at Rs 15 per kg in the wholesale market, which has now increased to Rs 25 and more,” he said.