Telangana: Dry spell spurs vegetable shortage, jacks up prices

Dependency on imports, transportation costs have added to price rise.

HYDERABAD: The current dry spell has prevented farmers in the state from growing vegetables. The resultant shortage in the supply of vegetables has caused an escalation of prices. Tomatoes now cost Rs 60 per kg. Last week they cost Rs 50 per kg, and their price touched Rs 100 per kg earlier this month. The prices of all vegetables are significantly higher as compared to the same period last year. The dependency on imports from other states has increased, and transportation costs have contributed to the rise in prices. Normally, vegetable prices begin to fall in August, with the arrival of the first harvests.

However, the situation is different this year due to the long dry spell experienced in July. The scarcity of water has resulted in damage to the crops. Farmers who are reliant on borewells have also been unable to save their crops due to the depletion of groundwater resources. Over 80 per cent of the demand for vegetables in the GHMC region is met through imports from neighbouring states. However, supplies from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra have suffered due to the prevailing weather conditions. Supplies from neighbouring districts have also reduced by 60 percent.

This shortage of supply is driving prices upwards. Officials from the Departments of Agriculture and Marketing fear that situation could deteriorate further as no major rainfall has been forecast until mid-August. Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and marketing minister T. Harish Rao have been reviewing the situation with department officials for the past two weeks. Officials have pointed out that unless the state receives sufficient rainfall in August, it will be difficult for them to control the prices of vegetables during the festive season.

C. Parthasarathy, the secretary of the agriculture department, said, “The government took measures to encourage the cultivation of vegetables in the districts surrounding Hyderabad, to cater to the huge demand in the city. Meetings were held with farmers for this purpose. Farmers were willing to grow vegetables, but the long dry spell has altered our plans.” The marketing department sprang into action to increase imports from other states, to ensure that all markets received adequate supplies. Teams were sent to AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra, to enter into deals with vegetable traders. However, their efforts did not produce any results because the neighbouring states are also experiencing a dry spell.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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