Market intervention was strong ahead of this Onam

Ample supplies coupled with market intervention by several government agencies helped rein in vegetable and banana prices in the run up to Onam.

Officials at the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam said that market intervention was strong ahead of this Onam with Big Bazaars being opened in all the major cities early June onwards.

The Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation, which has two special outlets in each of the district for the Onam season, has increased local procurement and has done away with middlemen to improve returns for the farmers and ensure sales at reasonable rates to the buyers, said Manoj Kurup, the managing director of the Corporation.

Nendran variety of banana was selling for Rs. 38 a kg in the open retail market on Monday, the level being maintained from last year, said figures from the Council. The price of nendran is an indication of the shape of the market, considering the huge demand for the banana variety during the Onam celebrations.

Vegetables that continued to be dear included cowpea (local variety), selling for Rs. 40 a kg in the retail market on Monday and bitter gourd, selling for Rs. 48 a kg. Ginger and njalipoovan variety of bananas were also slightly dearer at Rs. 40 a kg and 43 a kg in the retail market respectively.

Prices of vegetables like pumpkin, drumstcks, ash gourd, cucumber, elephant foot yam, potato, French beans and cabbage, for which demand peaks during the Onam season, have remained cool in the run up to Onam, said accounts from the VFPCK.

Mr. Kurup said that the major reason for the cool vegetable market this season was intervention by government agencies. There has been four-fold increase in procurement of vegetables and bananas from districts like Wayanad, Palakkad, Idukki, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram, he said.

Bitter gourd, cucumber, ash gourd, pumpkin and cow pea have been procured from areas panchayats like Nenmara, Kollamkode, Vithinassery and Elavancherry in Palakkad district while potato, cabbage and French beans have been procured from the Kanthalloor and Vattavada panchayats in Idukki district. Nendran, elephant foot yam and cow pea have been procured from Mananthavady, Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta in Wayanad district. Vegetables have also been procured from Balaramapuram and Parassala in Thiruvuananthapuram.

Horticorp procured 800 tonnes of vegetables directly from farmers and another 1,650 tonnes from the six wholesale markets across the state. These markets include the ones at Anayara, Nedumangad, Maradu, Vengeri, Moovattupuzha and Sulthan Bathery.

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