Business in a limbo at wholesale vegetable markets

With business in a limbo at wholesale markets ever since the cash crunch set in, wholesalers saw prices of commodities fall over the weekend. Now they fear that prices will keep going south.

Traders at Azadpur Mandi told The Hindu on Sunday that while all vegetables saw a marginal to medium dip in prices, onions, an important produce, fell by nearly Rs.300 for a 40-kg pack.

Hardeep Bhalla, an onion wholesaler at Azadpur Mandi, said a 40-kg pack of onions was selling for Rs. 800 three days ago. He added that from the 180 trucks arriving daily, the number is down to just 100.

Businessmen at Azadpur fruits and vegetables wholesale market claimed that dearth of cash has forced others in the supply chain, be it small vendors or middlemen, to either not buy at all or cut down on the quantities they procure. The business in mandis, or at least the onward sale to locals, has been running mostly on credit. While wholesalers understand the compulsion, many middlemen who earlier bought on credit now insist on paying in cash or refuse to buy at all.

“This puts added pressure on us since we are cash-strapped. Unsold stocks means no hope of payment in the next few days either,” said Devesh, who also deals in onions. Stating that he gets his stocks from States like Maharashtra and Karnataka, he said the first signs of reduced supply are visible.

However, if supply is limited, the reduced liquidity has forced retail buyers to stay away as well. Which is why Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee member Rajender Sharma said consumers may not be affected, at least in the short run, due to the prices these things are being sold.

Some cash flow following withdrawal at banks has revived hopes, with small vendors coming to market with Rs.100 notes.

All vegetables saw a marginal to medium dip in prices, but onions fell by Rs.300 for 40-kg pack

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