The lockdown and temporary ban on the sale of vegetables had sent the vegetable prices skyrocketing in the retail market. Vegetable vendors are now ascribing high prices to the wholesale market. Lemons were earlier selling for Rs 45 a kilo but they are now retailing for as much as Rs 250 depending on the area.
Almost the vegetables are selling for a very high mark-up, about 200%, compared to the wholesale prices. Ask the vendors, and they say, "There is a shortage of supply in the wholesale market and as a result our prices are high:'
Mamta Agarwal, a resident of South Bopal, said that with virtually no home delivery and malls having huge lines, residents are forced to buy from handcart vendors despite high prices. She said they are operating like a cartel and are selling at a common price so that there is no competition and the buyers have no option but to buy.
Ravindra Marwadi, a vegetable vendor, said that due to lockdown they are forced to pay Rs 4,000 for transporting vegetables from Jetalpur and hence prices are on the high side. There is also a shortage of vegetables, he said.
Agriculture market experts say that price of lemons have soared ever since the lockdown began. Earlier when the prices were Rs 50-60 per kg in wholesale market, it was Rs 100-150 per kg in retail. The high price is because of the demand-supply mismatch caused by the severe heat in the region.
Now, even when there is a decline in wholesale prices, retail prices are increasing. On Thursday, the price of lemon was Rs 45 in wholesale and Rs 225 to Rs 250 in retail.
[ Rs 100 = €1.20 ]