Price of sugarcane, turmeric goes up due to slump in production

Crowds thronged markets in and around the city on Monday on account of purchases to be made for ‘Pongal’ celebrations. Vegetable and fruit markets were milling with people, who had come to buy two essential items for the celebration – sugarcane and turmeric – from early morning.

In thickly populated residential areas located away from the market, a few sellers carried turmeric in their bicycles in the morning, making it convenient for those who wanted to escape the rush at the markets.

Trucks with sugarcane from Melur were being unloaded at the markets throughout the day. Many regular fruit and vegetable sellers at the Simmakkal market took to temporarily selling sugarcane, turmeric, coconut and ‘aavaaram poo,’ ahead of the festival to cast in on the seasonal demand.

Both sellers and buyers, however, unanimously agreed that the cost of sugarcane and turmeric had significantly increased when compared to the previous year. “The wholesale rate has increased considerably. We are paying anywhere between Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 3,500 for a truckload of sugarcane which cost us Rs. 2,000 last year,” rued L. Ravi, who was selling sugarcanes at the Simakkal fruit market.

“Tall sugarcane is sold for as high as Rs. 60 per pair by many sellers,” said T. Meena, a resident of Melamadai, who had come to the Simmakkal market to procure her ‘Pongal Karumbu.’

Wholesale rates have increased owing to a combination of factors, including high transport cost and low production caused by inadequate rainfall. These factors have affected the prices of turmeric as well, which are in demand during Pongal. Same is the problem with seasonal flowers.

“A pair of turmeric plant costs anywhere between Rs. 30 to Rs. 40 this year which is quite expensive. The supply had been less due to lack of rainfall. Customers keep bargaining with us but we have no choice but to price it high due to the expenses incurred,” says R. Mani, who had set up shop near Yanaikkal.

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