Vegetable prices in Pune’s wholesale market have crashed significantly, with farmers blaming low demand as the reason behind this dip. A bumper vegetable crop and increased supply has triggered a slide in prices, which shows no signs of abating in the near future.
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On Wednesday, the maximum price of tomatoes at the Pune marketyard was Rs 600 per quintal, a drop of 33 per cent from Rs 900 per quintal, the price it fetched on October 28.
Similarly, prices of vegetables such as green peas, chillies, capsicum and cauliflower have dipped significantly as well. Only the price of onions has seen a slight correction, with the bulb trading at present at Rs 1,200 per quintal, as compared to Rs 800 per quintal on October 28.
The supply of vegetables at the Pune market has been around 20 per cent higher than normal. The winter months usually witness increased supply of vegetables, as price corrections take place only in January.
The cash-only vegetable market has also been hit by demonetisation, as both retail and wholesale buyers are at a loss while procuring cash from the market. Despite a sharp dip in prices, buyers don’t have enough cash to spend in the market.
There have been reports of farmers dumping their produce, such as tomatoes and methi, in the fields as the current prices do not even cover their transportation charges. Even the Pimpri wholesale market, which caters mostly to small retailers and traders, has come to a standstill over the last two days.
Vishnu Salve, president of the trader’s association, said the three-day long
weekend had left people with little or no money. “On an average, traders used to conduct trade worth Rs 15,000 on a daily basis, but after demonetisation, it has come down to Rs 3,000. No one has money to spend these days,” he said.
Meanwhile, some traders in the Pimpri market have opted for alternate payment channels like online wallets or Point of Sales (PoS) machines, but Salve said such solutions are not viable. “Other than operational hiccups, the vegetable trader is often short of time to even swipe cards or pay via an online wallet ,” he said. It was unlikely that the price situation would improve until the circulation of notes improves in the market, he said.