Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003
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By Divya Sreedharan
But this month, rains and the festivals of Onam and Ganesh Chaturthi resulted in a "seesaw" effect on vegetable and fruit prices.
Now, you get a choice between the costlier "naati" (organic) and the cheaper farm (pesticide-laden) varieties of fruits and vegetables in some of the markets.
At the vegetable market on Old Poor House Road at Shivajinagar, vendors say potato, onion, beetroot, and beans have had normal price shifts, unlike say carrot. Moulana Sharieff, Habibullah, and Altaf, vendors, complain that pushcart vendors eat into their business. "These migrant workers from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh sell vegetables at cheap rates,'' they told The Hindu.
Subbana, Manager (Marketing and Procurement), Horticultural Producers' Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS), said carrot prices shot up last week. "Our market study found that the increase in the price was due to Onam; now rates are normal,'' he said.
The rains around the city have led to an increase in the price of some leafy vegetables. "Last month, coriander was priced at Rs.12 or Rs.13 a kg.; today, it is Rs. 20 or Rs. 21 a kg.,'' the official said.
Among fruits, apples were cheap. Pomegranates were expensive at Rs.40 to Rs. 60 a kg. because "we get it from Hiriyur, Bagalkot, and Bijapur which are facing drought". The grape and watermelon seasons were yet to start, he added.
Mr. Subbana felt "naati" and farm varieties were part of a fad. "Organic fruits and vegetables captures only two or three per cent of the market,'' he said and added that this was why HOPCOMS did not stock "naati" varieties.
The ordinary Bangalorean says he/she cannot stop buying vegetables even if they cost more than fruits. "Can we use apples in sambhar or bananas in playa,'' asks one citizen. Another person quipped that "it is cheaper to turn to non-vegetarian food these days.''
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