The pricelist in front of a fruit shop in Chala market worries Sadanand Nair. When he wanted to eat fruit, he used to opt for the less glamorous, cheap bananas.
But now, even they are off-limits. Mr. Nair feels the best, and only, option is “to go back to the jackfruits and papayas in our home gardens”.
The price of ‘njalippoovan’ is Rs.65 a kg, Rs.20 more than its price two weeks ago. Price of ‘palayamthodan’ has moved up from Rs.25 to Rs.30 this week. ‘Robusta’ stood at Rs.26, up from Rs.23 last week. ‘Poovan’ variety has touched Rs.50 from Rs.36. The ‘nendran’ variety, which was priced at Rs.43 last month, now comes for Rs.55 for a kg.
Pomegranates are in high demand in this ‘season’ of fever because they apparently increase blood count — so, the prices too remain high, fluctuating between Rs.120 and Rs.150.
“Oranges are out of season and so there is no question of their price coming down from Rs.80 a kg. Apples are always in demand, irrespective of the season,” says Vijayan, who keeps a wayside fruit shop in Palayam.
While the ‘Fuji’ apples are priced at Rs.150 a kg, ‘Washington’ apples come at Rs.180. Mango season is about to end, and the available ones are priced high, Rs.40-Rs.80 a kg, he adds.
Dry fruits are never moderately priced. The sole saving grace used to be dates, which, too, now sell at Rs.180 (wholesale) and Rs.200 (retail), thanks to the festive season.
“During Ramzan, the price of dates goes up as many break their fast by eating them. Now, with Onam approaching, there will be more demand for chips, milkshakes, and payasam, and the prices will go up further,” said Ramshid, a fruit-shop owner in Palayam market. Heavy rain that lashed the State last month and less production in Tamil Nadu could be a reason for the price rise. The price of most vegetables, barring onions and beans, has also gone up, says an official at the Horticorp outlet in Palayam.