As the farmers’ strike entered its fifth day, markets across the city grappled with rising prices and an erratic supply of vegetables. Prices for tomatoes at the Dadar market had surged from Rs 15 to Rs 80 per kg for the past couple of days, before cooling down to Rs 50 a kg on Monday. In the suburbs, however, tomatoes continued to sell at upto Rs 100 per kg and coriander at Rs100 a bundle, though daily staples such as onions and potatoes were affordable at Rs18-20 a kg. “The supply has greatly reduced and is poor in quality,” said Pramod Desai, who owns a vegetable stall in Dadar. He estimates he had to throw out a third of the supply he got Monday, which comes from Nashik.
The prices of other commodities rose too. Green peas, usually sold around Rs 80 a kg, were around Rs 120 per kg. The price of cucumbers had almost doubled, selling at Rs 90 instead of Rs 50 per kg. In Byculla, many shops remained shut over the past three days due to unavailability of supplies. “We don’t have any vegetables, what will we sell?” said Aftab Ghaziani, who sells tomatoes.
The situation at the Vashi APMC seemed better. The market supply was normalised Monday, according to wholesale traders. However, they expect the prices to be more volatile on Tuesday, as the afternoon supply was disrupted. “Today, business was normal,” said Nagesh Rao, a wholesale trader.
Milk supply hasn’t been affected in the city, as most people prefer packaged milk over fresh milk, according to the traders.
Buyers have been forced to work with the rising prices. “The only solution is to buy fewer vegetables, and hope that the prices stabilise soon. I usually buy 2 kg of tomatoes, but could only afford one the past week,” said Prabhadevi resident Huzan Sheikh.
At Vile Parle East Market, supply remains short and prices high. “We have to charge triple, not even double. Many have been forced into closing shop. Even the limited supply we get is not good quality, as it rots when the lorries are stalled,” said Manoj Kandu, a stall owner.
Things seem to be looking up at Colaba market, as Badelal Kesarwani, a vendor there said, “Prices have fallen since yesterday, and, hopefully, will begin to get back to normal soon.” Milk supply has taken a hit as well, with dairies and suppliers complaining of shortage. “We only receive 50% of the usual supply since the strike started,” said Appa Kurade, who runs a dairy in Vile Parle.