Vegetable prices decline by almost 39% on increase in new season harvests

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A vegetable vendor in Mumbai, India's financial capital. Photo/IAC

Prices of green vegetables have declined by up to 39 per cent in the past three weeks because of a sharp increase in the arrival of new season harvests, reports Business Standard.

Data compiled by the National Horticultural Board (NHB) showed that the price of green peas declined 39 per cent to trade at Rs 55 per kg in the wholesale Bengaluru Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) on Monday. Trading at Rs 80 per kg in retail, green peas have, so far in September, posted a decline of 33 per cent.

Following the trend, bitter gourd slumped 17 per cent to Rs 20 per kg in Delhi for the first three weeks of September. Vegetable additives such as chilli, okra and garlic also reported a decline in most mandis. The price decline comes ahead of the festive season.

However, onion prices have jumped in the Mumbai retail market to trade at Rs 60 a kg on reduced supply from wholesale mandis. In other metro centres also, the retail onion price is hovering between Rs 58-65 a kg.

Onion has become costlier by over 33 per cent in the last one week and over 70 per cent in September so far. Farmers and stockists have reduced supply from cold storage amid expectations of further increase in prices. In Mumbai wholesale mandi, onion supply has declined to 140 tonnes now from the level of 2500 tonnes in the peak arrival season.

According to sources, the government is considering levying stock limit and ban on exports to boost physical supply into mandis. With the new season crop arrival is a month away, onion prices would continue to rise.

Excessive rainfall in almost all major vegetable-growing regions has delayed sowing. Also, sudden water logging has damaged standing crop this kharif season. The drop in vegetable prices is being considered a temporary relief. Prices of these items are likely to increase in the coming weeks.

Vegetables are drought-tolerant crops, which require an intermittent sprinkling of water for blooming. Most major vegetable growing pockets in Maharashtra reported floods and waterlogging in vegetable-sown fields. As a result, 15-20 per cent standing crop is estimated to be damaged this year.

The arrival of vegetables to mandis is 10-15 per cent lower in September when compared to the same time last year. The uneven distribution of rainfall has impacted standing vegetable crops. Farmers fear the shelf life of vegetables may also reduce due to high moisture in crops that were harvested early.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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