Vegetable prices soar across India; tomato crosses Rs 100/kg

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A vegetable seller in Mumbai, India's commercial capital. Photo/IAC

After petrol and diesel, prices of vegetables are spoiling the party in the kitchens of India. Amid the sky-rocketing prices of edible oil and pulses, increase in vegetable prices is testing the Indian consumer’s tenacity like never before.

Price of peas and tomatoes, which are generally cheap in winter, have touched new highs. Against a normal winter price of Rs 20-25 per kg, tomatoes are being sold for 100 per kg in major markets. In Chennai, it has peaked to Rs 160 per kg, while Kerala is selling tomatoes at Rs 120 per kg! At the same time, peas are being sold at many places for Rs 100, Rs 150 and Rs 200 per kg.

There are several reasons behind the high prices of vegetables. Crop failure due to heavy rains in South India has led to a huge jump in the prices of tomatoes. In fact, due to the failure of tomato crop in wake of the floods in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the prices of tomatoes have skyrocketed.

Additionally, vegetables are not being transported on a small scale due to fuel inflation. Another major reason is the wedding season. After the festive season, the wedding season has skewed the demand for vegetables.

In Okhla near Delhi, some vendors are selling desi tomato for Rs 120 per kilogram.  The price of hybrid tomato is low, retailing between Rs 60 and Rs 80 per kg. Meanwhile, many homes are avoiding tomato in their vegetable dishes substituting the vegetable with either hybrid tomatoes or tamarind.

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