Vegetable prices in the state have eased after an upward trend, due to the restoration of supply from Tamil Nadu. Heavy rainfall in the neighbouring State had triggered a shortage of vegetable supply in Kerala, resulting in the increase of prices.

Wholesalers and retailers say that the prices have come down a little as the rainfall in Tamil Nadu had stopped. "Supply and demand are the main factors that cause change in the vegetable price, other factors such as fuel price and pilgrimage season plays only a secondary role", said John Rex, owner of a vegetable shop in Chalai market.

Shop owners agreed that the downward trend in the prices may not remain unchanged for long. "But it is possible that the prices may further come down, as the production might increase after the rainfall in Tamil Nadu", said another shop owner Babu. He added that the lowering of price was also because the consumers tend to purchase less when the price went up, resulting in a reduction in the demand for vegetables.

Impact of Consumerfed outlets

Kerala State Co-operative Consumer's Federation plans to open 400 fair-priced vegetable shops throughout the State to intervene in the market, as per the direction of Cooperation Minister C. N. Balakrishnan. Transport Minister V. S. Sivakumar inaugurated the first outlet in the capital at LMS Compound, Palayam, on Friday. Consumerfed procures vegetables mainly from Tamil Nadu and sell them in a subsidised rate of 15-63 percent, official sources said.

However, vegetable suppliers do not see any positive impact of the decision. Babu said that the Consumerfed would procure vegetables in bulk and sell them at subsidised rates, leaving the wholesalers and retailers with significantly less supply to meet the demand of the consumers. Subsequently they would have to purchase vegetables and sell them at an increased price.