Vegetables turn ‘hot potatoes’ in city
By Express News Service - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
10th November 2012 08:58 AM
Failed crops in Tamil Nadu always mean loosened purse strings for Malayalees. It is no different this time too. The heavy downpour that rooted out crops in Tamil Nadu and the recent fluctuations in diesel prices have left the vegetable markets with no stable price-charts, either in wholesale or retail markets.
With Deepavali round the corner and the Sabarimala pilgrimage season set to kick off, it might take sometime for the price graph to scale down, according to vegetable vendors in the city. The price of onion, which was Rs 12 two weeks ago, has now risen to Rs 26; potato costs Rs 28 now, while it was Rs 20 earlier; tomato is priced at Rs 28, while one week ago it was Rs 20; and three weeks back the price of small onion was Rs 20. Now, it is Rs 50 per kg.
‘’Loads coming from Tamil Nadu have gone down in big numbers. Crop failure in those parts has affected the transportation, which is yet to be normalised. Deepavali being a festive season there, they are compelled to charge Kerala markets with heavy rates. The truck rates also have doubled, thanks to the spiralling diesel prices,’’ said Gopakumar, one of the vendors at the Connemara Market, Palayam.
A single load from Madurai that earlier reached the capital at Rs 7,000 now arrives only after the traders here shell out Rs 12,000. A load of onions from Pune costs Rs 72,000 now, while it was Rs 52,000 before, he said.
Most of the vegetables that reach the market are already two days old. So, keeping them fresh for more than two days is a comparatively hard task for the vendors. Not-so-fresh vegetables invite less buyers, naturally forcing shopkeepers to claim that they are running out of profits with each passing day. The wet weather has also added to their woes.
“Apart from the transportation charges, we have to bear the handling cost since the trade unions never let us unload it by ourselves. Two to three kilos of vegetables in every single sack are mostly rotten. So how can one expect us to run a vegetable shop at reduced rates?” asked Sainudeen, the owner of another vegetable shop here.
Many vendors like Suji are still in the business as they have been doing it for the past many years. Some of them also opined that owing to the mushrooming of supermarkets in the city, people refrain from going to the local markets.
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