The Telegraph
Sunday , February 23 , 2014
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Veggies easy on the pockets

Ranchi, Feb. 22: Call it the winter’s parting gift for the homemaker.

Vegetable prices have come down by at least 30 per cent in the capital market, thanks to bumper production and last week’s rain that fuelled fears that the cold weather might damage crops, prompting farmers to sell their produce at much lesser prices.

According to figures available with the state horticulture department, Jharkhand has been able to produce 3,32,000 metric tonne of winter crops this season as compared to last season’s 50,000 metric tonne.

Fresh vegetables like peas, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, French beans and carrots have been grown in abundance and farmers are now trying to exhaust their stocks fast lest the weather changes again and the crops get rotten. As a result, prices of veggies have automatically dropped by Rs 15-Rs 20 a kg from what they used to cost even a month ago.

“The vegetable market has been flooded with peas, cauliflower, French beans, tomatoes and carrots. Farmers, apprehensive of the unpredictable weather doing damages to the crops, are selling vegetables at much cheaper rates. Even matured produce is being sold at lower rates. As compared to the market prices a month ago, vegetables are now cheaper by 30 per cent,” state horticulture director Prabhakar Singh said.

He added that in far-flung areas like Irba, Ormanhji, Bedo and Kanke, farmers are directly selling their produce to consumers.

Singh further explained that frequent rain causes the humidity level to increase and when temperature goes down, micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi start multiplying faster, thus spoiling produce.

“Hence, farmers are not taking any risk. This way, the farmers are not only making profit, but consumers are also enjoying fresh vegetables. It is the peak period of production and the new crops will arrive only after March,” the horticulture director added.

This means that consumers can hope to avail cheaper vegetables for next 10 days or more.

At Kutchery Market, Daily Market, Bariatu and Morabadi, peas, which cost Rs 35-Rs 40 a kg till a month ago, are being sold for Rs 10-Rs 12 now. Similarly, prices of tomatoes have come down from Rs 25-Rs 30 a kg to Rs 10 to Rs 12.

“We are getting the vegetables from Bedo at much lower rates and hence, we are selling them to customers at lesser prices. We are not bargaining much. If buyers are asking us to lower the rates by Re 1 or Rs 2, we are relenting,” said Rani Kacchap, a vendor at Morabadi.

The consumers are only too happy to add to their vegetable platter.

“I purchased cauliflower for Rs 10 a kg. During off season, it is sold for Rs 40 per kg. Even rates of other vegetables like peas and carrots have unimaginably come down. My family is simply relishing the fresh vegetables,” said Mrinal Kumar, a government employee who shops at Kutchery Market.

In Irba and Bedo, the prices are even lower. For example, tomatoes, sources said, are being sold for Rs 4 a kg at these places.

Price breather

Vegetables New rates (per kg) Old rates (per kg)

Tomatoes: Rs 10-Rs 12 Rs 25-Rs 30

Peas: Rs 10-Rs 12 Rs 35-Rs40

Cauliflower: Rs 10 Rs 35-Rs 40

Cabbage: Rs 10-Rs 15 Rs 35

Carrots: Rs 15 Rs 25-Rs 30

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