KAKINADA: Lemon prices are skyrocketing as more people are consuming lemon juice for its vitamin C, which is supposed to build immunity against Covid-19. Unfortunately, yield of lemons in the state has been poor.
As a result, their prices have gone up between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 4,500 per 45-kg bag in wholesale market. Traders say prices of the fruit will remain high for a month.
Sources said lemon crop is cultivated over more than 60,000 acres, mostly in Nellore, West Godavari and Prakasam districts. Owing to cyclone and floods occurring thrice last year, lemon crop had got damaged in the flowering stage. Currently, most of the crop is in the growth stage. By the time it comes for harvest, it may be third week of May.
At present, size of the fruit coming into the market is small. Yet the price is high. “We are not purchasing lemon fruit in large quantities as consumers are buying them in smaller quantities due to high prices. A person who used to buy more than a dozen fruits is now purchasing only three or four lemons.
Traders in Kakinada market are getting orders only for 35–45 bags per day, as against 100 to 200 bags previously,” said R. Gangadhar, a wholesale trader of lemons. Most of the crop coming to Kakinada and Rajamahendravaram is from Eluru.
Local traders have also accusing wholesale traders of purchasing the fruit at cheaper prices from farmers and storing them in cold storages, thereby creating an artificial shortage, leading to higher prices.
Horticulture deputy director S. Rammohan said lemon crop is being cultivated in Nellore, Prakasam and West Godavari to a large extent and in lesser quantities in East Godavari, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts.
He advised farmers to grow the crop wisely based on seasons for getting a good crop and prices. He pointed out that consumption of vitamin C through lemon fruit as well as other fruits and vegetables has increased vastly following a surge in Covid-19 situation....