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Vegetable price hike this summer season

The skyrocketing prices of many vegetables seem to be disrupting household budgets for over a month this summer. Fewer arrivals to the wholesale market and increasing freight charges were attributed to the rising cost of the vegetables.
Beans, carrot and broad beans are among expensive vegetables. One kg of beans, which is priced at Rs.40 in the wholesale market, is sold for Rs.45 to Rs. 46 in the retail stores. Carrots and broad beans are sold for Rs.35 in the retail market. Wholesale traders in Koyambedu market said less crop yield in the neighbouring States over the past one month has led to the spiralling cost of vegetables. The market, which normally receives 500 lorry loads of vegetables every day, gets only 400 lorries now. Several consumers make do with vegetables that are nominally priced. B. Rukmani, a resident of Shenoy Nagar, said, “this price hike has come at a time when seafood is also costly. I usually alternate between seafood and vegetarian dishes. Now, I have less choice of vegetables to use in cuisines.” The revised entry fee, which has been doubled, has also influenced the hike in price. Traders in the Koyambedu wholesale market said visitors on two-wheelers and four-wheelers have to pay Rs.5 and Rs.10 for parking. Lorries and commercial vehicles that bring produce have to pay between Rs.60 and Rs.200 per trip. Traders said they may have to recover the additional cost from sales. However, the vegetable price hike due to rise in entry fee would be marginal. M. Thyagarajan, a wholesale trader, said sales were dull as the rates were 10-15 per cent more this summer. However, residents have a reason to cheer as vegetables often used in kitchens are nominally priced. While onions are priced at Rs. 14 a kg, potatoes and tomatoes are sold for Rs.18 a kg in retail stores. This year, the Koyambedu market is receiving several loads of garlic and tamarind from other States. M. Murali, a merchant in Koyambedu, said one kg of garlic costs Rs.20 now compared to Rs.100 last year. “We get nearly 100 tonnes of garlic from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Several farmers cultivated garlic as the price was high last year and this has slashed the price,” he said. One kg of tamarind is priced at Rs.80 in the wholesale market. Traders plan to participate in a meeting with Koyambedu Market Management Committee authorities in a few days to solve the issues pertaining to entry fee hike.