After nearly a month of lull, vegetable prices are once again going through the roof in Kerala markets thanks largely to volatile weather conditions that have affected vegetable production in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Heavy winds and rains in parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh late May destroyed large tracts of vegetable cultivation while in Kerala unprecedented heat and pest attacks reduced production significantly in the summer months.
The effects of cyclone Laila appear directly to have triggered the current price spiral with vegetables like beetroot, carrot and drumstick showing the highest increase in prices on a year-to-year basis.
With the new vegetable season just beginning in Kerala supply levels are low and forecast for the coming Onam festival season is a difficult task.
Season in State
Scientists at Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council, who track prices in the State on a day-to-day basis, said on Thursday that prices would now largely hinge on the success of the season just beginning here in Kerala.
As for now they see a rather protracted spell of low supply and firmed up prices.
Retail price of beetroot on Thursday was Rs.28 against Rs.10 a kg in the same week last year.
Retail price of carrot was Rs.36 a kg on Thursday against Rs.18 in the same week last year.
The prices of other key vegetable items like green chilli; drumstick, beans, elephant foot yam and bitter gourd too have gone up substantially. Drumstick price on Thursday in the retail market was Rs.44 a kg against Rs.18 around the same period last year.
Retail price of beans has gone up to Rs.36 a kg on Thursday (Rs.22 a kg last year); green chilli Rs.26 a kg (Rs.14); bitter gourd Rs.35 a kg (Rs.26); elephant foot yam Rs.34 (Rs.20) and ridge gourd Rs.35 (Rs.24).