The Telegraph
Thursday , June 5 , 2014
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Rain drives veg prices to sky

Bhubaneswar, June 4: Vegetable prices have once again skyrocketed, putting buyers in trouble.

The rates of vegetables have gone up particularly because of incessant rainfall in several pockets near the city and procurement of traditional winter vegetable from Bangalore.

There has been an increase of Rs 10 to Rs 20 per kilogram in the prices of vegetables in the last one week. Bottle gourd, which was being sold at Rs 10-a-piece even a week ago, is now selling at Rs 20-a-piece.

“After the scorching summer, the sudden rains brought us cheers. But when I came to know that it has caused the crop loss and subsequent rise in vegetable prices, I feel like the rain has done us no favour. The upcoming marriage season and the demand for vegetables might also have contributed to rising vegetable prices further,’’ said homemaker Jasaswini Mohapatra.

Last week’s rainfall has caused extensive crop damage across the state and especially in coastal, north and central Odisha districts.

Santosh Kumar Sahu, one of the biggest vegetable traders in Unit-I Daily Market, told The Telegraph: “Local vegetable supply has become less than the half than what it was a few weeks ago following crop loss due to rainfall. So, when the demand exceeds the supply chain, there is a sudden rise in their market price.”

On the other hand, the prices of the vegetables traditionally coming from Bangalore — French beans, carrot, tomato, capsicum and cauliflower — have rise due to the marriage season here.

While cauliflower was selling at Rs 30-a-piece last week, it was selling at Rs 45 at retail counters across the city yesterday. Similarly, beans are now selling at Rs 80-a-kg, which was selling at Rs 60-a-kg last week.

“Traditional vegetable producing belts near the city are rapidly transforming from farmland to real-estate grounds. On the other hand, sudden rainfall has also affected the plants so much that local farmers are not hopeful of more returns in near future,’’ Sahu added.

Officer in charge of the All-India Coordinated Research Project on Vegetable Crops at the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology Alok Nandy said: “The demand-supply gap of the local vegetables has become so huge that the prices are always on a higher side. The situation induced by rain aggravated it further.’’

Saying that the state government should come out with a minimum support price (MSP) norm for vegetable to encourage more and more people to take up farming of the vegetable crops, the scientist also added: “There should be more support by the financial institutions and government to vegetable farmers so that overall production can support the demand level.”