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Excessive heat, delayed monsoon and logistical disruptions push up vegetable prices in Bengal

In Bengal, the agricultural sector is currently navigating through a series of challenges attributed to erratic weather conditions and logistical disruptions. The state has witnessed a combination of dry heatwaves, followed by cyclone Remal, which brought heavy rainfall, and a subsequent moist-heat wave. These conditions have placed considerable stress on crops, especially vegetables, affecting their yield and quality.

Anirban Ghosh, an agro-economist, noted, "The excessive heat, delay in monsoon arrival and disruptions in train services have collectively pushed up vegetable prices by 30% to 50% over the past four to five days. But in a fortnight, the rise is sharper," with some vegetable prices increasing by up to 80%. The extension of railway platforms at Sealdah station, which led to the disruption of train services, has been identified as a critical factor impacting the supply chain.

From the perspective of producers and vendors, Kamal De, president of the West Bengal Vegetables Growers' and Vendors' Association, highlighted that high temperatures have drastically reduced yields by preventing vegetable plants from blooming or causing them to drop flowers prematurely. A farmer from Bhangar expressed concerns over the delayed monsoon affecting underground water resources and irrigation channels, further complicating the situation for agriculture.

These adversities are also being felt in urban markets, where vendors like Kartick Saha at Maniktala observe a decline in customer demand despite the availability of fresh and high-quality vegetables, as prices continue to escalate.


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