MUMBAI: After milk rates, the price of three other main kitchen essentials has spiralled this past week since the General Election ended June 4. Tomato has shot to Rs 52-60 per kilo, up from Rs 30-35. Onion and potato have escalated to Rs 34-50 from Rs 24-28 earlier. Traders say no relief is likely before end-July.
Vegetable sellers cite extreme heat, unseasonal rain showers in growing areas, and consequent spoilage as a reason for low arrivals and cost increase.Already eggs at Rs 90 per dozen and chicken upwards of Rs 280-300 per kg have weighed down household budgets since a month.
The humble potato sold for a jaw-dropping Rs 50 per kg in Bandra Saturday. French beans, always costlier than most vegetables, still induced alarm at Rs 200-240 per kilo.
In Malad’s Orlem Market, since last week tomato escalated from Rs 40 to 60/kg and onions rose from Rs 35 to 40. Buyers in Kalwa Market, Thane, witnessed similar trends with tomato rising from Rs 40 to 55/kg and onions from Rs 30 to 35. In Nerul, Navi Mumbai, tomato sold for a seasonal high of Rs 60 on Saturday. Bandra Pali Market, Khar Market and Matunga reported similar cost increase.
Shoppers in Kalyan wholesale vegetable market noticed beans, onion, tomato, garlic all selling at premium rates Saturday.
Green grocers in Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West, were hard at pains explaining the brisk price rise to regular customers. “Tomato has been rising every day since Monday from Rs 28 to Rs 33, then Rs 40, Rs 44 and now Rs 52,” said an attendant at Home Choice grocery store. “Onion and potato both of which averaged Rs 25-28 have escalated to Rs 34.”
Vashi APMC wholesale vegetable trader Sunil Sanas said, “The wholesale price of tomato has risen to Rs 40 owing to demand- supply mismatch. With scanty supply from crop areas following the end of the harvest season, the prices have gone up. Unseasonal rain in the producing areas caused damage to crops which resulted in less supply. This trend will continue till the new harvest arrives by late July. In fact further price rise is expected in the coming days. As far as rates of other vegetables are concerned, it is a regular feature every summer that supply becomes scanty.”
The director of APMC’s potato-onion wholesale market Ashok Walunj said, “A rise in the volume of onion export in recent times pushed the price a bit high, which is now hovering in the range of Rs 25-28 per kg in the wholesale market. Rates are expected to drop in the next couple of weeks. In the case of potatoes, the market always witnesses levels of Rs 20-25 per kg during the extreme summer slot. A rise of Rs 1-2 per kg has been normal market behaviour.”