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Updated: August 9, 2012 10:04 IST

Prices of vegetables, groceries rise as monsoon makes itself scarce

M. Soundariya Preetha
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HARD BITE: Vegetable prices are shooting up in the city because of reduction in arrivals. Photo:M.Periasamy.
The Hindu HARD BITE: Vegetable prices are shooting up in the city because of reduction in arrivals. Photo:M.Periasamy.

There are fears of shortage and steep hike in prices in the coming weeks

For the common man, regular breakfast or lunch at home is turning dearer. Be it vegetables, rice or sugar, prices are on the rise. And, there are fears of shortage and steep hike in prices in the coming weeks if the rain continues to be deficient.

M. Rajendran, president of Thyagi Kumaran Market Vegetable Merchants’ Association, says vegetable prices here are expected to reach an all-time high in a month. Farmers will sow depending on the rain. Many have not taken up sowing because of deficient rains this year. Hence, area under some of the vegetables has shrunk. This has affected arrivals to Coimbatore. Volumes have come down and are likely to decline further in the coming months.

The Tamil Nadu season for big onion started from Aadi 18. Arrivals will start a week ahead. This year, in contrast, arrivals are just coming in after Aadi 24. Retailers are reducing purchases from the wholesale dealers since the costs are already high and they will incur losses with wastage. Prices of almost all the vegetables are likely to go up in a week as supply to Kerala will go up for Onam and festival season will start in Tamil Nadu after that.

While prices of carrot, beans, and cabbage remained high for the last three months, that of onion, potato, and chilli have increased manifold during the last two months.

C.R. Baskaran, secretary of Coimbatore Maligai Merchants’ Association, says that dhal, sugar, rice, turmeric and oil are the major items that have seen prices going up. Cooking oil prices started shooting up initially because of rupee depreciation. Then, the stocks declined. Coimbatore gets pulses from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The mundi traders in some of these markets report that their stocks were already depleting. Usually they have some quantity in hand which would be sold after Deepavali.

The wholesale prices in Coimbatore reflect the origin price (price at the point of first purchase). Consumers are already feeling the impact on high cost of these items. Coimbatore is a consuming centre and not a producing centre. Though this is not the arrival period for rice, fears of monsoon deficiency and hence, shortage has led to price increases. “It is more because of sentiment,” he says. If Government takes the required steps, consumers will be saved from steep price increases. The cost of these materials is expected to increase further if there is no rain in the coming days.

Restriction in consumer purchase has resulted in retailers curbing their buying. Business is expected to be relatively low during this year’s festival season, he adds.

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