Lemon, which is most sought after during summer for being a thirst quencher, has turned dearer in recent weeks in the city. A kg of lemon was priced at Rs.60 in the Koyambedu wholesale market on Tuesday. In the retail markets, one lemon costs Rs.5.
Sources in the wholesale market attributed the increase — in March the price of a lemon was Rs.2 — to a shortfall in the supply for the past one month.
According to wholesale vendors, lesser yields in areas such as Gudur and Nellore from where Chennai gets a major share of its supply was the reason for lemons getting costlier. The wholesale price of lemon in the corresponding period last year was Rs.30.
The growing demand, in view of the soaring mercury level, is also contributing to the price. On Tuesday, Nungambakkam recorded a maximum temperature of 39.5 degree Celsius and Meenambakkam 40.8 degree Celsius. Though the temperature was one degree less as compared to that on Monday, the low moisture content in the air resulted in dry weather condition.
P. Louis, a roadside juice vendor in Anna Nagar, said “I have increased the price of a glass of lemonade recently from Rs.5 to Rs.7. I cannot increase it further as customers may not visit my shop.”
A few vegetables, including beans, continue to be priced high at the wholesale market. Beans are sold for Rs.25 a kg in the market and at Rs.39 a kg in retail shops. Broad beans are also expensive and sold for Rs.35-Rs.40 a kg in the retail shops.
The prices of many staple vegetables such as onions and tomatoes remain stable. While onions are priced between Rs.10 and Rs.17 a kg according to the quality, one kg of tomatoes costs Rs.16 a kg in retail market.
Though cabbages are relatively cheap in the wholesale market and are sold for Rs.3 a kg, retail vendors say that they sell cabbages for Rs.10-Rs.11 a kg as they have to factor in the transportation and labour cost.
Traders said most vegetables cost 20 per cent less this month compared to the prices in May last year.
Keywords: vegetable prices