In a “most worrying” sign for consumers, the prices of vegetables in retail markets are likely to shoot up further in coming months as the ‘peak production season’ came to an end, says a report. In the shorter horizon, there will be “more pressure on the market arrivals of vegetables as production season eases”, industry body Assocham said in its report.
Vegetable prices rose up to 100 per cent in the April-July period due to low arrivals of the harvest in mandis, Assocham said. It termed the trend as “most worrying” because it was visible during the peak season of production. “There is a huge gap between retail and wholesale price of vegetables. On an all–India average basis, retailers are selling at more than 52.7 per cent of wholesale prices,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.
At the retail level, potato prices went up by about 100 per cent during April-July period this year over the same period of 2015, cabbage (49.3 per cent), chilly (47.8 per cent), garlic (37 per cent), cauliflower (33.9 per cent), tomato local (26 per cent), tomato hybrid (25.6 per cent), potato fresh (25 per cent), okra (22.3 per cent), and brinjal round (20.8 per cent).
The report further said, “It indicates a worrying situation where market arrivals of vegetables have recorded contraction despite being a peak season for production.” As for the gap between the wholesale and retail prices, it is as much as over 75 per cent in some cases like brinjal (round) and over 62 per cent for tomato (desi or local).
Lack of basic infrastructure puts further strain on the arrivals of vegetables which result in more wastage of vegetables during peak time of production and because of their perishable nature producers have to sell immediately. In general, producers do not gain when prices increase, the report pointed out. It outlined the need of building cold storage facilities in production centres, suggesting the government should improve infrastructure facilities by encouraging PPP initiatives.