It is that time of the year when truckloads of sugarcane begin arriving in Chennai from various parts of the State, ahead of Pongal.

Sugarcanes are in high demand this month, as Pongal, the harvest festival, is considered incomplete without these juicy canes. Supplies have already started to trickle in, but traders at the Koyambedu wholesale market expect supplies to increase over the weekend. The market received its first batch of loads from Madurai and Panruti on Tuesday.

A.D. Arumugam, a sugarcane and jackfruit wholesale trader, said five truckloads of sugarcane arrived on Wednesday.

“We get Sengarumbu, sugarcane grown exclusively for Pongal mainly from areas such as Chidambaram, Theni, Sirkazhi and Sethiathope. We expect nearly 700 truckloads of sugarcane to arrive in the city from Saturday to January 16,” he said.

On Wednesday, one piece of sugarcane cost Rs. 50-Rs.60. The price may drop by Rs. 10 over the weekend when more trucks arrive, traders said.

Many residents like S. Divinanthan are still waiting to bite into the juicy canes as most retail shops in the city have limited stocks.

Several customers had to go to more than one shop to buy the canes.

Turmeric and ginger plants, which are other essential crops for the festival, will also arrive on the weekend.

Customers have one more reason to cheer this festive season, as most vegetable prices have dipped by 40 per cent compared to last year. Tomatoes are priced at Rs. 10 a kg at the Koyambedu retail market.

V. Soundararajan, a wholesale trader, said the cost of beans and carrots has dropped by half.

However, drumsticks and coconuts are still expensive. A coconut now costs between Rs. 15 and Rs. 20.

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