With summer yet to turn on its full heat, vegetable prices have scaled new heights, with beans being sold between Rs. 60 and Rs. 80 a kg while ladies finger (okra) is about Rs. 50 a kg.
This rise coincides with the beginning of the festival and wedding season. Those in the business say prices will rise further.
Water shortage blamed
G.M. Venkatesh, a senior executive with a vegetable retail chain, blamed water shortage for the steep increase in the prices of beans, okra, tomato and even cabbage. The last, usually sold between Rs. 4 and 8, is now over Rs. 15 a kg.
Lack of rain
Farmers have stopped cultivating these water-intensive crops because of absence of rain and other sources of water, Mr. Venkatesh said. As a result, the shortage will continue till the end of the dry spell.
Beans are being sold at Rs. 70 at Hopcoms outlets and much more at neighbourhood vegetable shops. Tomato is Rs. 24 and Rs. 26 a kg at these outlets respectively. Even radish, once selling at a modest Rs. 15 a kg, is Rs. 20 at Hopcoms and above Rs. 22 at neighbourhood shops.
Prices of cucumber, a favourite summer staple, have crossed Rs. 20 at Hopcoms and Rs. 30 a kg at neighbourhood outlets. However, carrot, which sold a few months ago at Rs. 50 a kg, is cheaper. Onion and potato too are available at moderate prices without pinching one's pocket.
Fruits are reasonable
The other saving grace is the availability of moderately priced fruits.
Elakki banana is being sold at Rs. 34 at Hopcoms and at Rs. 42 at neighbourhood outlets.
Mosambi is Rs. 36 and Rs. 42 respectively at these outlets while sapota too is priced moderately at Rs. 24 and Rs. 32 respectively. Pomegranate, whose price had crossed Rs. 180 a few months back, is now available at around Rs. 140 a kg.