Traders blame arid conditions in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
Prices of some vegetables have moved up sharply over a week and traders have blamed the phenomenon on extreme arid conditions in neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu from where bulk of the produce is imported.
The price of beans moved up sharply to Rs.48 a kg in the retail market here on Wednesday while the retail price of bhindi (lady's finger) moved up to Rs.40 a kg, the two items of vegetable being the costliest in the market.
Vegetable trader N.H. Shameed said that production of both beans and bhindi had been hit hard by a long dry spell in the neighbouring states, with Tamil Nadu also experiencing protracted spells of power supply disruptions.
Of the 15 items selected to highlight the price trend, prices of seven were either Rs.30 a kg or more. Of them, bitter gourd, cow pea, banana (nendran), brinjal, tomato and cabbage stand out for their sharp appreciation in the last month.
Data from Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam showed that price of beans swung sharply from Rs.16 a kg on March 28, 2011 and from the level of Rs.36 a kg a month ago to the current retail level.
Similarly, price of bhindi had also moved up significantly between last year and now. The price of the produce was Rs.42 a kg last month.
Prices of items of daily use like onions, big and small; potatoes and green chilli continue to hold firm while there has been a significant fall in the price of drumsticks. Drumsticks are selling at Rs.18 a kg, down from the Rs.80 a kg at the end of last month.
Mr. Shameed said that there was a general shortage of vegetable supplies to the city.
Against the normal arrivals of nearly 25 loads daily, supplies had shrunk to less than 20 loads a day. Dry weather conditions had resulted in a drop in production ranging between 30 and 40 per cent in some of the vegetable growing areas of Tamil Nadu, he said.
A shortage of production and fall in productivity apart, there was also great demand for vegetables in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka from exporters, who were procuring large quantities for foreign markets.
Traders, however, do not see the situation lingering for long as the vegetable season is just beginning to pick up.