Wholesale traders at Thirumazhisai market, which was opened a week ago and has since been getting a steady supply, are losing 15% of vegetables as wastage for want of storage space. Brinjal, carrot and okra are sold at throwaway prices towards the end of business hours. The wholesale vegetable market was shifted from Koyambedu to the temporary facility at Thirumazhisai on May 10.
Wholesale traders said steps taken against the spread of COVID-19 has led to another problem. Unable to put up with the long waiting time to enter the market, many small retailers had stopped going Thirumazhisai for purchase. This is forcing wholesale traders to sell the produce at throwaway prices. On an average, the market gets about 4,000 tonnes of vegetables daily. About 500 tonnes goes waste as there is no space to store them.
D. Rajasekaran, president, Federation of Koyambedu Market Wholesale Merchants Association, said this had affected farmers who were bringing produce to the market. For instance, vegetables such as brinjal and ladies finger were sold ₹5 a kg as there were no takers at the end of stipulated business hours. Even carrots were sold ₹7 a kg.
“Farmers suffered a loss because such vegetables must be sold for a minimum of ₹10 a kg for them to cover labour charges and transportation. These benefits never reach the customers in the city as many retailers don’t reduce the price,” he said.
Onions and potatoes can be stocked better than green vegetables. Moreover, only a section of shops get more business and those at the rear tend to dump vegetables for want of takers. The authorities concerned must help distribute the vehicles entering the market to all shops to prevent wastage, the traders said. They suggested that the government could adopt similar measures with stringent norms and reopen Koyambedu market soon.
[ ₹100 = €1.20 ]