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Prices of vegetables like brinjal, bottle gourd and cabbage retreat as the clouds clear

Prices of brinjal, bottle gourd and cabbage have already fallen up to 15% in the past one month although onions and potatoes have risen.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 19, 2013, 09.52 AM IST
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Prices of brinjal, bottle gourd and cabbage have already fallen up to 15% in the past one month although onions and potatoes have risen.
Prices of brinjal, bottle gourd and cabbage have already fallen up to 15% in the past one month although onions and potatoes have risen.
NEW DELHI: Vegetable prices, which have doubled in the past six months, have started retreating in recent weeks but it will take another three to four weeks before the seasonal drop of 20-30%, retailers and traders said.

Prices of brinjal, bottle gourd and cabbage have already fallen up to 15% in the past one month although onions and potatoes have risen. Vegetable prices normally dip in the beginning of October but adverse weather has delayed the planting of green leafy vegetables, which are harvested in a month. The new crop will include cauliflower, capsicum, radish and cabbage.

The monsoon has been 4% above normal so far this year, but the distribution has been uneven. In the east and northeast, it is 27% below normal but in the south it is 22% above normal. Heavy rainfall in the south has delayed harvesting of onions, which are selling three and a half times last year’s level. Food inflation has contributed to the rise in overall inflation level in August.

Onion prices in key wholesale markets of Azadpur and Malegaon ranged from Rs 45- Rs 60 a kg. Retail prices were Rs 60-80 a kg. This was the highest price at which retailers like Mother Dairy were buying and selling in the Delhi NCR market. Arrival of fresh onion crop will begin from Alwar, Kotputli, Khairchal belt of Rajsthan which caters to the north Indian market in a month’s time, said Surinder Kohli a leading vegetable trader from Azadpur. Further, a clear sky will ensure pick up of harvest across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, said Shriram Gadhave president of the vegetable growers association at Narayangaon, in Pune district. “With the arrival of the new onion and other vegetable crop, a 20% correction will take place in 15-20 days,” said Gadhave.

Increased arrival of vegetables from local markets has also helped. “Tori (ridge gourd) price has fallen to Rs 7 a kg today from Rs 25 a kg a week ago. Ghiya (bottle gourd) price has also come to Rs 13-15 a kg from Rs 20-25 a kg a week ago,” said Kohli who added that the crop was coming from Moradabad, Sambal and Delhi NCR.

With green leafy vegetables from spinach and fenugreek to amaranthus and coriander accounting for 30% of the total vegetable basket, its arrival is expected to ensure a steady fall in prices said Pradipta Sahoo, business head, horticulture, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Private Limited. “We are confident that post navratri the prices will remains stable,” he said. Compared to the previous year the delay in price correction is by 15 days he added.

According to Sahoo a 30% price correction in October was a seasonal thing. “We are just hoping that intermittent rains don’t take place as they will disrupt the schedule and flow of crop to mandis,” he said.

But south would continue to get rains, according to the agricultural meteorological division of the India Metrological Department, while a dry spell will continue across northern India.

“Farmers across the western and south peninsular India where excessive rains had taken place are being advised to postpone irrigation and adopt plant protection measures on standing crops,” said K K Singh, director, Agromet Services IMD.

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