September 6, 2021 1:30:48 am
Prices of vegetables crashed in the wholesale market, forcing aggrieved farmers to throw their produce on the old yard of Rajkot agricultural produce market committee (APMC) on Saturday. On Sunday morning, heaps of bottle gourd were found dumped on the side Rajkot-Kotda Sangani state highway at Khokhadadad village on the city’s outskirts.
“As prices of vegetables went over the roof last monsoon, farmers cultivated more vegetable crops this year, hoping prices would remain good. But rain was not good this season and skies remained clear, leading to a bumper harvest of vegetables. This coincided with the month of Shravan when people observe fast… leading to a dip in demand. Therefore, there is a glut in the market and prices crashed, forcing farmers to dump their harvest on the roadside,”
Raghu Korat, sarpanch of Khokhadadad village, told The Indian Express.
On Saturday, bottle gourd’s lowest and highest price was Rs1.3 per kg and Rs 4 per kg respectively at Rajkot APMC when the arrivals were 33,500 kilograms. Similarly, the price of bitter gourd ranged from Rs1.3 per kg to Rs 5 with arrivals of 20,000 kg. Brinjal was sold between Rs 2.5 and Rs 5 per kg with arrivals at 32,000 kg. Green chilli, leafy onion, okra, reddish, cabbage, fresh black-eyed bean pods, ivy gourd and ridge gourd all fetched lower than Rs 5 per kg, while guar (cluster bean) was sold at Rs 7.2 per kg and cauliflower at Rs 6.
Drumstick at Rs12.5 to Rs 20, pointed gourd Rs 7.5 to Rs 17.5, fenugreek leaves Rs 7.5 to Rs 15, coriander leaves Rs 10 to Rs 15, fresh onion Rs 6.5 to Rs 19, ginger Rs 17.5 to Rs 27.5 were among the varieties fetching the highest price.
The rates were similar in all major vegetable markets across Saurashtra and most parts of the state.
The rates same day last year were in contrast when brinjal fetched farmers Rs 50 to Rs75 per kg, bottle gourd Rs 10 to Rs 22.5, green chilli Rs 70 to Rs 95, bitter gourd Rs 20 to Rs 40, pointed gourd Rs 20 to Rs 33.5, okra Rs 22.5 to Rs 37.5, black-eyed bean pods Rs 50 to Rs 70, radish Rs 10 to Rs15, ivy gourd Rs 20 to Rs 35, guar Rs 60 to Rs 80 and coriander leaves Rs 200 to Rs 222.5 per kg.
Farmers say they can’t uproot their vegetable crops and go for other crops now and harvesting them and abandoning them was the only option for now. Kishor Nasit, a farmer from Khokhaddad village, dumped around 70 kg of green chilly in a drain soon after harvesting it from his farm on Sunday.
“Transporters charge Rs1 per kg for transporting vegetables from my field to the APMC yard in Rajkot. But almost each variety of vegetable is getting auctioned at Rs1.5 per kg in the yard. Farmers can’t afford to lose their time when there is no return and no guarantee that the produce will be sold. Therefore, I started dumping vegetables in a drain running on the edge of my farm,” said Nasit, who has grown chilli, cabbage, black-eyed beans bottle guard, sugar beat and brinjal from his 10-bigha land as well as the five-bigha leased land.
“Prices started sliding a month ago and have now hit rock-bottom. But I am tending to my crops, hoping prices will improve in a couple of weeks. I’ve invested so much in growing these crops,” Nasit said.
“Last year, continuous rainfall had affected the crops and production was low. But it has been bright and sunny for most of the days this year, leading to 10 times higher production,” he added.
Ashok Sakhiya, a farmer from Gundala village in Gondal taluka of Rajkot, is also hoping that the prices would improve soon. “By consistently producing high-quality vegetables using less inorganic chemicals, I have managed to create a distinct brand value for my produce and have been able to sell my produce. I have invested a lot in chilli, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, ivy gourd, etc., and can’t uproot them now. I expect prices to improve in a couple of days,” said Sakhiya, who has grown vegetables in his entire holding of 20 bigha.
Meanwhile, retail prices of vegetables in Rajkot continued to be around 10 times higher than the wholesale prices in APMCs. “This is because transportation charges have gone up due to high diesel prices. Aalso, the vegetable vendors are an organised community and therefore are managing to keep prices high,” said Naresh Sekhaliya, a farmer from Deradi village of Gondal taluka.
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