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Bhogi turns dull for Koyambedu market traders

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Festival supply: Truck loads of turmeric saplings and sugarcanes lined up at the Koyambedu wholesale market on Wednesday. —
Festival supply: Truck loads of turmeric saplings and sugarcanes lined up at the Koyambedu wholesale market on Wednesday. —

K. Lakshmi

CHENNAI: Bhogi turned out to be a dull day for vegetable and sugarcane traders at the Koyambedu wholesale market with the sale estimated to be 30 per cent less in volume as compared to that of last year.

According to traders, the sale is usually on the upswing during the Pongal season. Though the arrival of sugarcanes was far less this year, the wholesale price dropped because vendors, who did not belong to the market, too, could sell the produce.

T. K. S. Sundar, a sugarcane wholesale trader, said that last year the market received nearly 700 truckloads of sugarcane from different places, including Madurai, Chidambaram and Panruti. This year, the figure dropped to 500 truckloads. There was also a fall in the wholesale price between Rs.130 and Rs.100 per bundle — comprising 18 sugarcanes — as against Rs.170 last year. In retail market, a pair of sugarcanes cost up to Rs.40.

Last year, traders suffered loss due to heavy arrivals and less demand. Several of them ordered less produce this time and yet the sale had dropped, he said. The market, however, is flooded with turmeric and ginger saplings from Periapalayam, Gummidipoondi and Kumbakonam and the sales went on throughout the day. The retail price of turmeric saplings is between Rs.5 and Rs.15 as compared to Rs.20 last year. The cost of most vegetables turned stable due to more arrivals. S. Chandran, a wholesale trader, said the wholesale prices of the vegetables dropped by Rs.3 a kg. However, some vegetables such as brinjals and beans cost Rs.7 a kg and Rs.15 a kg in the wholesale market, almost Rs.5 more than the price last week.

From a consumer perspective, the drop in the price has not resulted in a significant drop in the retail prices as much of the produce is also being sent to other popular markets, including those in Aminjikarai and T.Nagar during the season, he said. Fruit vendors said there was not much sale of fruits except bananas.

At the flower market, price of jasmine had skyrocketed to Rs.1,200 a kg as only 500 kg was received against the average daily supply of five tonnes. One cubit length of jasmine was being sold for as high as Rs.25-30 in the city. The price of ‘saamandhi’ flowers was Rs.40 per kg. The price is expected to drop to Rs.20 a kg by Friday, said A.Manoharan, a flower merchant.

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