Prices have shot up in cities like Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Ernakulam, Chennai and Bengaluru.

A file photo of a vegetable seller amid the coronavirus pandemic in IndiaImage for representation: PTI
news Agriculture Monday, October 19, 2020 - 14:38

The prices of some vegetables in cities in southern India have shot up over the last week after heavy rains in various parts of the five states damaged crops and affected their movement to markets. Amjad Nawaz is a vegetable wholesaler in Russel Market in Bengaluru, one of the largest and oldest markets in the city. He said that the prices of several vegetables have increased by around Rs 20 per kg.

"Floods in north Karnataka and Maharashtra are the reason for the rise in prices of vegetables. Onion and carrots are the most affected as the prices shot up from Rs 50 and Rs 20 to Rs 70 and Rs 40 per kg, respectively. Prices of other vegetables have not increased drastically," he says.

In Kerala, the city of Ernakulam has also witnessed the price of vegetables rising.

"One of the main reasons for the hike in vegetable price is due to less production. Most of the vegetables come from Tamil Nadu and they incurred huge losses during the lockdown. So now, their production is less, hiking the price in Kerala markets," says KT Siddique, member of Ernakulam Market Stall Owners Association.

"For some items like onion, the price is increasing as its season period is ending. Onions cost Rs 75 per kg at wholesale rate and carrots are the costliest at present, at Rs 90 per kg," he adds.

In Chennai too, the situation is similar. Koyambedu All Vendors Association President John said, “The heavy rains in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have resulted in a shortage of onion supply. The onions are transported from Karnataka, AP or Nashik, so the number of lorries that come to Tamil Nadu has reduced and thereby increased the price of onions.”

Currently, the onions are sold at Rs 40 to Rs 70 per kg but the prices are expected to shoot up to Rs 100 per kg, he said, adding, “Many supplies got destroyed in the heavy rains. The onions transported from the neighbouring states during rains have gotten rotten. So by next week, the price of onion will touch Rs 100 per kg. The prices will not reduce till the end of December due to the rainfall,” he said.

The price of carrot and a few other vegetables have also increased. Sukumar, a vegetable vendor in Koyambedu said. “The carrots are being sold at Rs 100 per kg. The prices of carrots have increased due to the rains in Ooty. The shortage in supply has increased the cost. The price of vegetables including beans, brinjal, cabbage, beetroot, peas, lady’s finger and drumstick will increase in the coming days,” he added.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the most recent states to be hit by heavy rainfall, have suffered huge losses.

Last week, authorities in Andhra Pradesh said that crops over 67,864 hectares spread over eight districts were damaged. This included 5,435 hectares in Visakhapatnam, besides 29,362 hectares in East Godavari, West Godavari (15,926), Krishna (12,466), Guntur (381), YSR Kadapa (2,053), Kurnool (249) and Srikakulam (1,992).

The damaged crops include paddy, pulses, sugarcane, maize, ragi, cotton, and tobacco. Horticultural crops spread over 6,229 hectares have also been damaged, affecting vegetables, bananas, papaya, betel vine, yam, turmeric, black gram and sugarcane, authorities said.

This has shot up the prices in cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.

In Telangana too, the recent rain has damaged several lakh acres of standing crops such as paddy, maize and cotton, besides making it difficult for farmers and traders to transport their vegetables and fruits.

Speaking to TNM, Alwal Rythu Bazar Estate Officer (EO) Sai Kumar said, "There has been a rise of Rs 10 in almost all the local vegetables that we get from our state from various districts and the outskirts of the city. Mostly we get tomato and green chilli locally, but due to rains and the subsequent crop damage, the supply of these vegetables has come down."

"Tomato was Rs 20 to 25 per kg last week, but the same is Rs 35 this week. Similarly, prices of other local vegetables have also increased as supply has gone down."

Meanwhile, commenting on the price of onion, the official added that its price keeps fluctuating. "We get onions from Kurnool side of Rayalaseema in Andhra. Due to rains, even those areas have also got affected. On Sunday, the onions were priced at Rs 45."

With inputs from Bharathi SP, Neethu Joseph, Soumya Chatterjee and Rajeswari Parasa.

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