Vegetable prices in Guwahati shoot up due to floods
GUWAHATI: With the flood situation in Assam turning critical and affecting more than 50 lakh people in 32 districts of the state, the prices of vegetables have sky-rocketed.
“Due to the on-going floods, there’s shortage of fruit and vegetable supply in Guwahati which has led to an increase in their prices. This has affected the market as the sales have gone down,” informed Lalita Barman, a vegetable vendor.
In the same vein, another vendor Sukur Ali said, “Guwahati gets vegetable supplies mainly from Kharupetia, Hojai, Meghalaya, etc. Due to floods, the supply of vegetables has stopped from some of these places.”
Ali added that the market has seen lower sales due to high prices, but maintained that supply and demand would eventually come into better balance and cause prices to fall.
Potatoes, which were being sold for Rs 12 per kg until 10 days back, are now being sold for as high as Rs 20 per kg in the retail market. Similarly, onions are being sold at Rs 30 per kg as against Rs 20 per kg in the past.
From Rs 22 per kg until nearly 10 days back, the price of lady finger has shot up to Rs 40-50 in the retail market.
Similarly, tomatoes are being sold at Rs 80 – 100 per kg depending on the quality, capsicum is being sold at Rs 120 (against Rs 80 until 10 days back).
Among the vegetables that have seen highest increase in prices are beans. In the wholesale market, the prices of beans have increased from Rs 70 per kg to Rs 100 per kg. In the retail market, the prices of beans have increased from Rs 100 per kg to Rs 160 per kg.
Other vegetables like pointed gourd (parwal) and ridged gourd are being sold at Rs 50 per kg.
Vegetable supply at the Fancy Bazar wholesale market has also been affected due to the ongoing situation. Owing to the short-supply of vegetables, vegetables that have been priced at Rs 15/20 by the wholesalers are being sold at Rs 45-50 by the retailers.
It may be mentioned that the prices of fish have also skyrocketed in Guwahati with fish markets on the bank of Brahmaputra getting submerged. As the river waters continue to exceed danger level, fishing has reportedly not been possible. In the absence of local fish, the prices of imported fishes have soared tremendously.
Guwahatians cutting back on fruits and vegetables as prices soar
Rising prices for fresh fruits and vegetables in the last several weeks have put consumers in a fix over what is truly affordable for them. Guwahatians have reportedly begun to deter from buying these items, which are a key part of a healthy diet.
“Recently, there has been an increase in prices of all fruits and vegetables. While we vegetarians have no option but to buy vegetables at whatever rate the traders offer, we’re all waiting for prices of fruits to go down to start buying them again,” expressed a buyer at the Fancy Bazar fruit market.
Seasonal fruits such as watermelons and mangoes have seen tremendous rise in prices. The wholesale rate of mangoes has increased from Rs 800 per carton to Rs 1,600 per carton. Simultaneously, its retail rate has increased from Rs 80 per kg to Rs 140 per kg.
Similarly, the prices of watermelon, pineapple and other fruits have also increased. This has led to consumers restraining from buying them.
In Fancy Bazar, the number of street vendors selling fruits and vegetables has also taken a dip.
“It has become difficult as well as expensive to procure fruits and vegetables due to the floods. Even after procurement, we face difficulty in finding buyers who are ready to pay such high amounts and we end up with large quantities lying unsold. Hence, there are days when we do not buy or sell any produce at all to minimise loss,” said Salim Ali, who has been selling fruits along with his brother for around 10 years.
“In Guwahati, the condition is much better than some other parts of the state, where fruits and vegetables are supplied from Machhkhowa, Fancy Bazar and Bamunimadam wholesale markets through buses. In upper Assam, the traders are selling at a much higher rate,” mentioned a vegetable supplier.