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Costly veggies burn a hole in household budgets

Staff Reporter
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HardshipWhile residents plan to revive kitchen gardens, hoteliers are suffering cuts in their profit—Photo: K. Pichumani
HardshipWhile residents plan to revive kitchen gardens, hoteliers are suffering cuts in their profit—Photo: K. Pichumani

The steady increase in prices of vegetables of late has put a constraint on the household budget of many of the city’s residents.

Some like P. Rajini of K.K. Nagar have started considering a kitchen garden to cope with the escalating cost of vegetables.

“I frequent nurseries to buy flowers or decorative plants. This time, I bought some vegetable seeds for my garden. It will come in handy to cut down the expense towards vegetables. I may grow small quantity but consuming fresh vegetables from garden brings in much satisfaction,” she said.

In the past one week, the cost of one kg of onions, an indispensable ingredient for most dishes, has shot up from Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 in the retail market. Yam is one of the costlier vegetables and is sold for nearly Rs. 46 a kg in retail shops. In the Koyambedu wholesale market, it is priced at Rs. 30 a kg.

Bottle gourd and bitter gourd are sold for Rs. 32 a kg and ladies fingers and carrots come at a cost of Rs. 28 a kg.

Rajan, a pensioner, visits the market in Aminjikarai as he is able to strike bargains there. “Even a bunch of greens are priced at Rs. 9. I buy vegetables that are relatively cheaper and sometimes cook simple dishes to manage vegetables for one or two more days,” he said.

Curry leaves, which add flavour, too have become expensive. Retailers now think twice before giving them free of cost to customers. In Koyambedu market, a bunch of curry leaves are sold for Rs. 20 to Rs. 25.

While residents plan to revive the kitchen garden concept and use smaller quantities of expensive vegetables, hoteliers are suffering cuts in their profit.

C. Kannan who runs a chain of fast-food joints, said: “Small-time hoteliers are already affected by the increasing price of rice. Rice and vegetables account for nearly 40 per cent of our expenditure. Now, the cost of vegetables too is shooting up. I suffer a cut of nearly 15 per cent in profit as I cannot pass on the burden to consumers.”

V.R. Soundararajan, a wholesale trader, said that the cost of some vegetables has escalated due to fewer arrivals at markets and an increase in transportation charges.

“This year, lack of rain in our State and in neighbouring States from where produce is sourced has resulted in less crop yields,” he said.

However, some vegetables such as tomato, potato, cabbage, green peas and broad beans come for an affordable price. They are all priced within Rs. 25 a kg.

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