Food inflation softened to 16.81 per cent for the week ended January 9, led by lower fruit and vegetable prices, although pulses and potatoes continued to cost dearer.

For the week ending January 2, food inflation (prices of non-processed food articles) stood at 17.28 per cent.

According to government data, on year-over-year basis prices of vegetables rose by 7.95 per cent and that of fruits by only 3.73 per cent.

While milk prices soared by 13.95 per cent over last year, it is expected to surge further on lower availability.

“We are facing insufficient availability of milk, specially in northern India. In October, we had taken a decision to raise the price. Today, there is a demand that we should hike the price,” Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar had said on Wednesday.

Potato remained expensive during the period rising as much as 49.31 per cent from last year, followed by prices of pulses which jumped by 47.90 per cent.

The inflation for primary articles, which include food and non-food items, stood at 13.93 per cent in the reporting week over the previous year.

On weekly basis, the price index for food articles fell marginally by 0.1 per cent on account of decline in prices of vegetables (2.6 per cent) and other food articles (2 per cent).

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