As the farmers’ strike in Maharashtra entered its second day on Friday, supply of milk and fresh vegetables ran precariously low in urban areas.
The Vashi wholesale market, which supplies fruits and vegetables, reported a 70 per cent dip in the arrival of these items, while in the Pune market, only 20 per cent of the usual fresh produce had arrived. Milk collection across the state reported a decline of over 50 per cent, with some dairies stopping procurement in solidarity with the striking farmers.
Wholesale and retail prices of vegetables have gone up by almost 40 per cent, and are likely to increase more, as supplies continue to be sparse. The price of coriander, which was trading at Rs 10 per bundle, has shot up to Rs 40 per bundle in Pune. The price of onions has increased from Rs 12 per kg to Rs 35 per kg.
On Friday, the Pune market recorded just about 20 per cent of the normal arrival of vegetables. Dilip Khaire, chairman of the Pune Market Committee, said prices had shot up after the arrival of lesser quantity of fresh produce.
Similarly, the Vashi market, which supplies fresh agricultural produce to Mumbai, has seen further decline in the arrival of various items. Suresh Pingale, president of the vegetables traders’ association of Vashi market, said, “Only 150 truckload of vegetables have arrived in the market, as against the normal arrival of 500 trucks… most of the vegetables are from outside Maharashtra and were in transit.”
For the first time in many years, the market did not see the arrival of a single truckload of onions.
Milk collection was also severely hampered. “On the second day of the strike, a 50 per cent dip has been recorded. Procurement has been hit majorly in north Maharashtra. Some of the unions have stopped procuring milk in solidarity with the strike. The procurement has also been hampered in western Maharashtra,” he said.
The Swabhimani Dairy in Kolhapur and Chitale Dairy in Sangli have stopped milk procurement in solidarity with the farmers. Rajeev Mitra, managing director of the Phaltan-based Govind Milk and Milk products, said procurement had seen a 10 per cent dip.