Lemon at ₹10 a piece leaves a bitter taste

A soda vendor displays lemons atop the bottles, near Prasad’s Multiplex in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

A soda vendor displays lemons atop the bottles, near Prasad’s Multiplex in Hyderabad on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G.

It is the perfect accompaniment to a scrumptious bowl of haleem. Squeeze it in a glass of sweet water, and it becomes a revitalising beverage to beat the scorching heat. But the bad news is that it just got dearer. Given the shortfall this summer, the humble lemon is now selling for as high as ₹11 a piece.

Lemons arrive in the city from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka, and then brought to local markets for retailers to pick up.

Retailers say they were caught unawares when the price of lemons began to see an uptick about 12 days ago. This soon turned into an upward spiral. “On Wednesday, we sold lemons for ₹10 a piece. We felt strange telling buyers that instead of three lemons for ₹10, they could pick only one for the price,” says Mohammad Yaseen, who operates a fruit and vegetable business with his father and siblings near a mosque in Banjara Hills.

“The prices at Gudimalkapur market itself are very high. The situation is such that we are keeping lemons for regular customers so that they don’t return home empty-handed,” he adds.

In what captures the sour surprise, a customer at an upscale supermarket was shocked when a salesperson told him that each medium-sized lemon would now cost ₹11. Without batting an eyelid, he handed the lemons back, and asked the salesperson to inform his superiors about customers feeling the pinch of the sharp rise in prices.

A manager of a chain of fresh fruit and vegetable stores points out that the price of lemons was ₹120 per kg last week. Now, it is ₹180. There appears to be a shortage in arrivals, he suggests. “On earlier Sundays, we used to sell up to 120 kg of lemon. But this Sunday, on account of the shortage, we could sell only 30 kg. Customers are taken aback by the hike,” he adds.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 9:48:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/lemon-at-10-a-piece-leaves-a-bitter-taste/article65297266.ece