As farmers in Maharashtra continued with their strike on Tuesday, the supply of vegetables and fruits from outside the state ensured a steady supply of fresh produce to major wholesale markets. Markets in Pune and Mumbai on Tuesday saw an improvement in supplies, with prices stabilising after the sudden spike of last week.
Supply of vegetables has been impaired since June 1, when farmers across the state went on an indefinite strike. Farmers had stopped bringing their supplies to the wholesale mandis, and also started obstructing the transport of vegetables on various highways. Last week, supplies were severely hit, leading to a price escalation of around 35-40 per cent in the various wholesale markets.
However, the higher prices in wholesale markets have attracted the attention of fruit and vegetable growers from outside Maharashtra. The state government has also urged traders to ensure normal supply to keep retail prices under control. Till mid-day, around 1.25 lakh quintals of fruits and vegetables had arrived in the 24 major markets in the state. Normally, 4 lakh quintals of fresh perishables arrive in these markets every day.
Arrivals in Mumbai and Pune have also been almost normal, with Mumbai recording the arrival of 1,166 trucks of perishable items. Vilas Bhujbal, a commission agent in the Pune market, said the supply of fresh produce had normalised. “We have let the farmers know that we are open for business and there are buyers also,” he said.
Prices that had gone up substantially have normalised to an extent, Bhujbal said. Supply of onions from Nashik has been hit to an extent, while Pune’s main market has seen nearly 50 per cent of its normal arrival. However, most of the markets in Nashik remained closed, with the supply of vegetables to the city severely affected.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, striking farmers locked up various government offices to register their protest. In some parts of the state, there were reports of police taking protesting farmers into custody. Police have also arrested over 50 farmers, who had allegedly tried to stop a milk tanker that was on its way to Mumbai, in Narayanangaon.