Deficient rains in west, flooding in north play havoc with crop cycles.
Vegetables prices have surged this month on less supply, following deficient rain in the western states and flooding in the northeast.
Tomato hybrid in the wholesale market (mandi) in Mumbai was selling at Rs 18 a kg on Wednesday, a rise of 50 per cent from Rs 12 a kg early this month.
Tomato of local varieties in the Delhi mandi jumped to Rs 30.5 a kg on Wednesday from Rs 16.75 a kg on July 1.
Cabbage, cauliflower and brinjal have also seen a sharp spike.
“While some pockets in Maharashtra have received good rainfall this monsoon season, major vegetable supplying regions remained deficient. Farmers were quick to assess deficiency after almost three weeks of delay in the onset of monsoon rain. Consumers would have no respite from high prices till widespread monsoon rainfall resumes across major producing regions,” said Anil Chavan, secretary of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee in Mumbai.
Data compiled by the India meteorological department showed a 14 per cent deficiency in cumulative rainfall during the period between June 1 and July 10.
Informed sources said farmers were hesitant to start sowing of vegetables this season, amid fear of low yield. Some had lost the entire crop in parts of Maharashtra last year, due to rain deficiency. In other parts, crop failure was 50-60 per cent.
“Consumers are unlikely to get respite from high vegetable prices for over a month. Farmers who have sown seed with the onset of the monsoon will get the first output in the next 45 days. Hence, supply is going to boost only in 30-45 days,” said Shriram Gadhave, president of the Pune-based Vegetable Growers Association.
Vegetables have become costlier in Delhi as supply from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was affected on heavy rain and flooding in these two states, respectively.
Total arrival of cauliflower, for example, slumped to 18.2 tonnes on July 17 from 22.5 tonnes at the beginning of the month. Arrival of bitter gourd fell to 2.6 tonnes from 6.1 tonnes during the period.
The retail markets, however, have been resilient so far. Vegetable demand is going to pick up during the coming month.