Prices of vegetables and pulses are spiralling upwards relentlessly, despite a bountiful winter crop. Onions, tomatoes, peas, and cabbage are costlier by more than 50% compared to last year, while brinjal and cauliflower prices have shot up by up to 40%. These figures are based on the average of prices in 30 cities collected by the National Horticulture Board (NHB). In several cities, prices are higher than average. In Jaipur, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, tomatoes are selling at `30 - 40 per kg, over 100% more than last year’s price. In Chennai, Jaipur, Shimla and Thiruvananthapuram, onions are priced at over `30 per kg, almost 70% more than last year. In Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad, cauliflower is selling at over `30 per kg, almost twice the price last year. Meanwhile, prices of already costly pulses have climbed up further by up to 25% in the past year, going by data collected from 68 cities and towns by the consumer affairs department. Moong has touched `100 per kg while tur/arhar and urad have crossed `80 per kg. Experts offer differing views on the subject. “The prices are rising due to the rigidities in the market system,“ said Saumitra Chaudhuri, former plan panel member, and called for an urgent overhaul of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) laws. However, APMC laws were overhauled nine months ago. It had been declared “vegetables, fruits and other perishable commodities, which are price sensitive, will be removed from the ambit of the APMC Act. It was also declared that “States will exempt these perishable commodities from the APMC yard taxes/local fees, if any, to provide some relief on pricing“. Despite this overhaul, prices of vegetables have continued to rise. So, is there a demand-supply mi sma t ch? Produc t ion da t a doesn’t seem to indicate that. Total vegetable production zoomed up by 84% between 2001-02 and 2013-14. The area under vegetable cultivation has increased by nearly 50% since 2001, and yields have also gone up. Production of fruits rose by 107% and spices by 57%. In pulses, there is a definite gap between the annual consumption need of about 22-23 million tons and production of about 18-19 million tons. But that is made up by duty-free imports of about 3-3.5 million tons every year. In vegetables, the crucial issue appears to be the supply chain from the farmer to the consumer. The average difference in wholesale and retail prices ranges between 40% and 60%. Note that this margin is largely within cities, where wholesale markets are located. It does not count transport costs from the farm to the wholesale market. In certain cases, there is clear evidence of cartelization of traders – they act in tandem to hold back produce and jack up prices artificially. (Source: The Times of India, Mumbai, March 26, 2015)
Disclaimer: The information provided within this publication / eBook/ content is for general informational purposes only. While we try to keep the information up-to-date and correct, there are no representations or warranties, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in this publication / eBook/ content for any purpose. Any use of this information is at your own risk.