Residents of the city, who have been at the mercy of fluctuating vegetable prices, are likely to get some relief soon with the inauguration vegetable collection centres which will supply Farm Fresh Vegetable outlets in the city. 16 out of the planned 19 centres under the Chennai Perimetro Vegetable Cluster Development programme will be opened in nine districts on Sunday. The horticulture department’s scheme will see a marked rise in supplies to the 29 Farm Fresh Vegetable outlets in the city.
At least 56-65 tonnes of vegetables will be collected per day. The produce will be collected by various cooperative societies. Farmers are expected to get a good price for their produce at the collection centres. They have offered to supply brinjal, greens, ladies finger, banana, gourds, tomato, potato, beans, carrot and beetroot. So far, 250 clusters of 20 farmers each have been formed for this purpose.
The collection centres will be opened in Mallianguppam (Tiruvallur), Peerkangaranai and Chengalpattu (Krishnagiri), Thanipadi and Mothakkal (Tiruvannamalai), Keelvithi (Vellore), Allankuppam and Olakkur (Villupuram), Pollachi north and Thondamuthur (Coimbatore), Thalavadi and Areyapalayam (Erode), Palladam and Pethapambatty (Tiruppur), Annikorai and Kilkavatty (The Nilgiris).
On Saturday, the cooperative department reduced the price of seven vegetables at Farm Fresh outlets. Retail prices of ‘Naveen’ tomato, Ooty potato, Ooty carrot, brinjal and drumstick have been cut by Rs. 5 per kg. Prices of a kg ginger (old variety) have been reduced by Rs. 30 to Rs.110 and ginger (new) will be sold at Rs.70.
Officials said that the retail sales at the 29 outlets crossed Rs. 3.52 crore on Thursday. Nearly 1,300 tonnes of vegetables have been sold so far.
Fresh arrivals at the Koyambedu wholesale market have brought down the prices of several vegetables. Retailers in the city said that vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots cost Rs.2-Rs.5 lesser than last week.
While tomatoes cost Rs. 15-Rs. 20 a kg and potatoes are sold at Rs. 16-Rs. 20 a kg, beans and carrots are priced at Rs. 48 per kg. Ladies finger costs Rs.32 per kg.
Onions, however, remain expensive. While those from Kurnool are being sold at Rs. 40 a kg, those from Nasik cost Rs. 50 per kg. Wholesale merchants in Koyambedu said that fresh stocks of onions that arrived from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka had brought down the price. S. Karthiga, a resident of Tambaram, said that she was able to plan her purchases better this week as many vegetables were cheaper. “I bought more of drumsticks, ginger and carrots as their prices are not very high now,” she added.
Better yields in beans, broad beans and drumsticks in the neighbouring States have also contributed to the decline in prices.
Consumers may expect a further dip in vegetable cost by Rs. 2-Rs. 5 per kg next month.