The festive season has seen a rise in the prices of tomatoes, onions and coriander leaves — essential items in every kitchen.
“The prices of tomatoes started rising just before Bakrid and have remained high ever since. Hopefully, they will come down after Deepavali,” said Selvakumar, a vegetable vendor in Adyar. In the retail market, tomatoes are sold at Rs. 60 a kg. Onions too are priced the same.
Wholesalers say the price of tomatoes have gone up because of a reduction in arrivals at the Koyambedu market following heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka from where the city gets its supply of tomatoes. “As against the regular 50–60 truck loads of tomatoes, the market gets 25–30 vehicle loads only. Even in the wholesale market, a kilo of naatu tomato Rs. 60 and Navin tomato Rs. 65 a kilo. The loss of tomato saplings due to rains is another reason for the fall in arrivals,” said A. Selvaraj, general secretary of Chennai Koyambedu Periyar Market Thakkali Vyabarigal Koottukkuzhu.
As far as onions are concerned, this is the first time in many years that the prices have remained high for such a long duration. S. G. S. Natarajan, an onion wholesaler, said though arrivals of onions have increased at Sholapur, the demand in the north for onions has led to the prices remaining quite high.
“Though, even in the wholesale market, the best quality onions are priced at Rs. 58 a kilo, the prices in the State are still lower than those in other States. However, retailers would sell at increased rates as more onions would get spoilt from excess moisture content due to the weather,” he said.
With onions, tomatoes and coriander prices skyrocketing, it is the common household that is affected. “I have to spend Rs. 40 just to make a tomato chutney with coriander leaves and onions, which is quite costly,” said S. Meena, a homemaker in T. Nagar.
In households that consume non-vegetarian items, at least 2 kg each of onions and tomatoes are used every week. J. Josephine Sahayarani, a resident of Kottur, said, “During weekends I cook non-vegetarian food. Onions and tomatoes are essential for the masala. To manage prices, I also buy some items in the local market in Kottur rather than at my regular retail outlet in Adyar,” she said.