A drastic increase in vegetable growing area in the state has seen prices dip of almost all vegetables in Pune. While farmers said the increase in area was the reason for the price dip, traders say the difficulty in doing business post the delisting of commodities from the market has reduced the prices.
Shriram Gadhwe, president of the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI), said Maharashtra has recorded a three times increase in the vegetable growing area. “Normally, vegetables are grown over 2 lakh hectare of land which has now gone up to 6 lakh hectare. This time, many farmers have opted for vegetables instead of other crops,” he said. Vegetable prices had shot up a few months ago as drought had made water scarce. Prices of tomatoes had in fact gone up to Rs 60 per kg in retail market.
Pune’s Gultekdi market has seen a steady increase in the arrival of vegetables over the last few days. On Friday, the market saw the arrival of 250 quintal of okra, 1,536 quintal of tomatoes, 633 quintal of green chillies and 579 quintal of cauliflowers. Overall, there has been an increase of 5-10 per cent in the arrival of vegetables in the market. Shivlal Bhosale, commission agent operating out of Pune Marketyard, said that other than the local area, Pune market has also seen arrival from other states, especially green peas and carrots.
Bhosale said the the slight rise in arrival is not the singular reason for the fall in vegetable prices. He blamed the delisting of fruits and vegetables from the Market committees as the main reason for price drop. A few months ago the state government had not only delisted fruits and vegetables from the market but also made it mandatory for the purchaser to pay the commission instead charging it from the farmer. “Many of the bulk purchasers have reduced their buying. This new process is detrimental to farmers,” he said. Delisting of fruits and vegetables was resisted by the traders and commission agents who had kept markets across the state shut for three days. Both Bhosale and Gadhwe said the downward journey of prices will continue for the next few months.
Meanwhile, consumers have expressed their happiness over the dip in prices. Sumant More, resident of Baner, said the price dip has made shopping easier.