Rising vegetable prices, poor quality hit people

Situation likely to improve by month-end, says official

The prices of vegetables are burning a hole in the pockets of the average middle class people in the city. The steep hike in fuel prices and the damage to crops, during the Cyclone Gulab continue to impact vegetable prices.

Tomatoes are selling at ₹60 a kg at the Rythu Bazaars and in the open market they range between ₹70 and ₹80 a kg. Green peas cost ₹120 a kg, Rajma ₹90 and capsicum was sold at ₹84 a kg at Rythu Bazaars in the city on Wednesday. Their cost in the open market is generally higher by ₹10 to ₹20 a kg, based on the demand.

Though the prices of vegetables are hitting the roof, most of the vegetables were of poor quality but the consumers hardly have a choice both at the Rythu Bazaars and in the open market. The winter season, normally brings with it, fresh vegetables to the market but this year it seems to be different. It is a different matter that vegetables are generally in high demand as a vast majority of the consumers shift to a vegetarian diet during the auspicious Karthika masam apart from ‘Ayyappa’ devotees, who have to strictly follow a vegetarian diet till they have darshan of Sri Ayyappa Swamy in Sabarimala.

“We are buying tomato crates at high rates and about 15 to 20% of the tomatoes are being damaged during transport. Consumers are shelling out high rates but we are helpless. The farmers are also not getting remunerative prices for tomatoes and they dumping them on the roads is some districts as middlemen are exploiting the situation,” says a vegetable vendor outside the Rythu Bazaar at Marripalem.

Most of the vegetables are produced in K. Kotapadu and other rural areas in Visakhapatnam district and at Ramabhadrapuram in neighbouring Vizianagaram district. “The Cyclone Gulab has resulted in destruction of vegetable crops at these places. They were sown again and we expect the situation to improve by November-end. Some of the vegetables like onions and potatoes are being procured from the Wholesale Vegetable Market at Gnanapuram in the city but the high transportation cost is resulting in the prices going up,” says Varahalu, Estate Officer of Seethammadhara Rythu Bazaar.

“The saving grace for us is that we continue to get vegetables from Araku as there was no water stagnation during the cyclone in the hilly areas,” he says.

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