AP now faces a severe shortage of vegetables and a resultant rise in their prices following crop damage and loss due to the incessant rainfall of the last few days.
Horticultural crops are being raised in about 17.40 lakh hectares and several varieties of vegetable in about 3.5 lakh hectares. As vegetables are raised in all four seasons, with each crop lasting three months for harvest, they get raised in about 80,000 hectares per season.
Based on a preliminary assessment, horticultural crops, mainly vegetables, suffered damage/loss in about 15,000 hectares all over the state so far.
There is a severe shortage of onions at present and a kilo of onions is being sold at `70-90 in local markets. So is the case with other vegetables like brinjal which used to be sold at `20-24 per kg more than 10 days ago and at present costs `38 at Rythu bazaars.
The cost of ladies finger has gone up to `38 against the usual `24 a kg; ridge gourd `30 against `22-24; donda `40 against `20 and bottle gourd costs `25 against the usual `15 a kg.
Vegetable farmers say that they lost their crops as rain water inundated their fields and whatever they managed to save, they are selling. As there is short supply of vegetables available, a section of traders have started to exploit the situation resulting in a steep rise in their prices causing hardships to consumers.
Marketing authorities maintain that the state government is going to step in to overcome the short supply of onions as it has placed an order for purchase of 1,000 metric tonnes through the national agricultural cooperative marketing federation of India limited from Maharashtra.
A team of officials from AP left for Maharashtra to procure the onions and the consignment is expected to arrive to AP in about four to five days. For each week, 225 metric tonnes of onions will be brought in to the state to supply locally.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is to take a final decision on the extent of subsidy to be given on onions. As the state government supplied onions at `25 a kg at Rythu bazaars on a subsidised basis earlier, there are similar expectations in the current season also with regard to the price.
Marketing authorities say that on Tuesday, nearly 8,855 quintals of several varieties of vegetables like tomato, brinjal, ladies finger, green chillies, bitter gourd, ribbed gourd, cabbage, carrot, donda, potato, onions and others arrived in markets all over the state.
The average price per kg of tomato in local markets was `36 and `33 at Rythu bazaars, brinjal `44 and `40; ladies finger at `41 and `38; green chillies at `42 and `38; bitter gourd at `46 and `42; ribbed gourd at `44 and `40; cauliflower at `37 and `34; cabbage at `47 and `51; carrot at `73 and `69; donda at `36 and `33; potato at `41 and `38 and onions at `62 and `57 in the two locations.
Traders are creating artificial scarcity of even available vegetables to jack up their prices while some of them are even exporting to other states where they get better prices.
Horticulture additional director K. Balaji Naik said, “We have suffered crop damage or loss for vegetables in a relatively small area when compared with total area used for raising them. We have a system to transport vegetables from surplus areas to deficit areas to maintain balance in supply for the benefit of consumers. The government is doing that.”...