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Vegetable prices tumble

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Buying increases, thanks to a decline in prices.
Buying increases, thanks to a decline in prices.

K. Lakshmi

More produce in market owing to good yield in neighbouring States

CHENNAI: The cost of staple vegetables has dropped significantly over the past few days at the Koyambedu wholesale market. This is bound to come as a big relief to households as the prices have come down to this level after nearly eight months.

Vendors at the market said many of the vegetables that were sold for Rs.20 a kg last month now cost half that price. The cost of tomatoes has fallen by more than half in the wholesale market and on Tuesday were being sold for Rs.3-4 a kg.

The market receives 450 lorry loads of fresh produce as against its daily demand of 350-400 loads. Of this, 60-70 trucks bring in tomatoes, whereas the demand is only 50 loads.

S. Chandran, a member of Koyambedu Periyar Market Licensed Merchants' Association, said more produce are coming to the market owing to a good yield in the neighbouring States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Seasonal

Usually, the prices of vegetables come down in March in view of increased production following the monsoon rains. However, this year the decline has been relatively steep. Over the past one week, though the sales have gone up by 30 per cent the vendors have made less profit, he said.

Onions that were priced above Rs.25 per kg last month now cost Rs.10-12. Brinjals are sold for Rs.6-10 a kg according to the variety. Similarly, potatoes cost Rs.6 a kg in the wholesale market. Some of the other vegetables priced within Rs.10 a kg are beetroot, cabbage, snake gourd, cauliflower and ladies finger.

V.R. Soundararajan, member of Koyambedu Market Management Committee, said the cost of a bunch of greens that was Rs.8 has come down to Rs.3. Similarly, a bunch of coriander is priced at Rs.2.

To go up

A few vegetables such as beans (Rs.16/kg) and yam (Rs.20) were relatively expensive. The prices would go up during peak summer months when the arrivals would decrease, he said.

The drop in wholesale prices had its impact on the retail market. There was not much price difference between the produce sold at most of the neighbourhood grocery stores and super markets. For instance, tomatoes that were sold for Rs.6-Rs.10 per kg according to its variety in grocery stores were priced between Rs.8 to Rs.10 per kg in super markets.

N. Sreelatha was one among the many customers filling their bags with vegetables at a Kilpauk vegetable market. “I used to think twice to buy an adequate amount of vegetables until a few days ago. As they are pocket-friendly now, I am purchasing more to stock for a week,” she said.

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