Ashok,a Daryaganj resident,can no longer afford the luxury of having more than one vegetable per meal. On any given day,he usually buys brinjal and yam. But now even the prices of eggplant have shot up by Rs 10 to 12 per kg.
As a result of the deficit rainfall so far this monsoon,vegetable prices have gone up by more then 50 per cent As a result,consumers as well as vendors have taken a beating.
While retail prices of perishable commodities have been increasing steadily since the beginning of this month,wholesale prices too have registered an average increase of 30 per cent.
The rise in fuel prices and the subsequent increase in transportation costs are also being cited as reasons for the rise in prices.
Insiders predict that no respite is in sight till September.
Prices of certain vegetables,including potatoes,have hit an all-time high this season. At the Daryaganj vegetable market on Friday,tomatoes were selling at Rs 30 per kg,up from Rs 10 at the beginning of the month. In case of potatoes,the prices have gone up by 30 per cent,from Rs 10 to Rs 13 per kg now.
Mohammed Saleem Quereshi,a vendor,said his business has slowed down he is now selling 50 kg cucumbers per day,barely a fourth of what he sold earlier. Due to the absence of rains this year,crops have suffered, he said.
Madan Sabnavis,Chief Economist at the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX),said prices will not fall before September. Even the major supplier states,Uttar Pradesh,Haryana,and Punjab,are witnessing an increase in vegetable prices because of the delay in monsoons.
Speculation is rife that suppliers might be hoarding vegetables,pushing up prices,Sabnavis said. While pulses can be stored for a longer time,vegetables cannot be stored for too long.
The government is keeping a tab on wholesalers so that they dont indulge in black marketing or hoarding of fruits and vegetables to artificially create a shortage and then sell goods at increased prices, he said.
Vendors added that their profit margins have shrunk. While previously they managed to make a profit of Rs 2 to 3 per kg for potatoes,they are now managing to rake up merely 50 paisa as profit.
Another vendor,Shiv Kumar,said that while supply is fine,there is a marked drop in demand for vegetables due to the high prices.
Seema,a consumer,said her family has cut down on quantity to stick to their budget for vegetables and fruits.