The heatwave sweeping through large parts of India has made vegetable prices skyrocket with some areas seeing a 25-40% rise in bills in the past 10 days. Traders said prices are likely to remain volatile until monsoon rain covers the main growing areas in the country. In April, wholesale prices of food rose 3.4%, but fruits and vegetable prices were up 14%.
Kailash Tajne, president of the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), said that vegetables were selling for 30-40% more than usual price since the past 10 days. “The heat is immense, and planting has been less due to water shortage in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, leading to a shortage of vegetables,” he said.
He said other vegetables such as bottle gourd, bitter gourd and cabbage have also seen a similar increase. “Vegetables are coming from Gujarat and Delhi, making them costlier,” he said.
In the Delhi’s Azadpur mandi, traders said prices of coriander, lemon, tomato, onions and green vegetables have risen gradually. They said expected arrivals from Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh should bring some respite in two weeks.
“Farmers will now plant tomato and onion in July. This has led to an increase in prices by Rs 2-3 a kg in wholesale to Rs 14-15 a kg for onion and Rs 20-25 a kg for tomato since the past 7-10 days,” he said.
Gadhave said prices will continue to rise over the next few days, even after the progress of monsoon towards south and western India. “It will take at least two months for the new crop to be harvested.”