People shop raw mangoes for pickles at Monda Market in Secunderabad. (Photo:DC/ R. Pavan)
HYDERABAD: Age-old recipe of pickles, which are stored in the shelves for yearlong consumption, is going to cost more this summer as prices of raw mangoes and tomatoes are skyrocketing, compounded by rising prices of chilli powder and edible oils, which are key ingredients in the recipe.
Though the summer is the right time to marinate pickles, vendors of raw mangoes and chilli powder claimed that sales were bad as people refrained from buying because of high rates and low quality.
Ch. Gopal of Universal Spices at Mir Chowk said, "Chilli powder rates have gone very high. Good quality chilli powder which is used in pickles is now Rs 600 per kg."
At Mir Alam Mandi, raw mangoes cost in retail between Rs 15 and Rs 30, each, Srinivas Rao of VVS Wholesalers said. "This year mongo cost went more than double. We are not getting quality products from farms. Previous year, a 40 kilogram bag of raw mangoes was around Rs 500 to Rs 800. Now the same is around Rs 1,100 to Rs 1500. Apart from that, we have to bear high transportation expenses," he added.
At the same market, tomato costs about Rs 80 per kg. Vendors who used to sell around 15 to 20 boxes of 25 kg are now selling only 5 to 7 boxes each day. Syed Mosin, a tomato vendor, said, "During Ramzan season, one kg was around Rs 20 or Rs 25. When the cost is high, our earnings go down."
Joint director of agricultural marketing department, K. Rajashekar Reddy, explained the causes of the price hikes. He said, "During the flowering stage of mangoes, a virus attacked the trees, a similar virus which was seen on neem trees in recent times. Most of the flowers were rotten, resulting in less than 50 per cent yield."
"Even tomato was affected by the virus apart from high temperatures, which resulted in less yields. Madanapally tomato is the number one in quality. At the farm itself, it is costing Rs 65 per kg and by the time it reaches the market it will be more than Rs 100 per kg. The local tomato is around Rs 70 to Rs 80 in the market," he added. "High price of tomatoes will come down to the regular price, as within two or three weeks, local crops will be ready for harvest."