40 percent rise in vegetables prices

Hyderabad,December 06: The recent heavy rains and floods in the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the main source of vegetable supply to Chennai, has resulted in an increase of at least 40 per cent in prices of some of the most sought after vegetables, including onion and potato.

Vegetable vendors also point to the decline in vegetable cultivation areas and say they are giving way to real estate in many parts of the state.

The Koyambedu market, which handles the entire vegetable supply to Chennai and its suburbs, is witnessing decreased supply of loads, even as consumers are buying lesser quantity of vegetables, VR Sounderrajan, Member, Koyambedu Market Management Committee, said.

“The retail price of one kg of onion has gone up to around Rs 35 per kg while it was around Rs 25 kg two months back. The rains and floods had resulted in crop failure,” he said, adding that Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh supply most of the vegetables to the metropolis.

The price of potato, another vegetarian delight, is also skyrocketing, even as producers in Udhagamandalam are more inclined to export it, he said adding that wholesale prices are hovering around Rs 35.

With little improvement in the situation, the prices are only expected to go up, he said.

Sounderrajan also said that many vegetable growing areas in the state, including those between Chennai and nearby Tiruvallur that used to grow brinjal and lady’s finger, had been taken over by the real eastate business, “which has resulted in spiralling prices.”

Vegetable supply to Koyambedu market has dropped from around 500 and more truckloads a day to around 300 now, thanks to the increasing prices and declining purchasing trends.

While there are no takers for some of the costly vegetables, others have reduced their buying.

A cross-section of middle-class families said they buy assorted vegetables in small quantities, while others said they substitute their food with papads and dry fish (karuvadu) in the case of non-vegetarians.

Regulars to restaurants said hotels have increased menu prices, thanks to the price rise of both vegetables and other essential commodities like rice and pulses.