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Vegetable prices drop

K. Lakshmi

CHENNAI: Vegetable prices, which made a big dent in household budgets until a few weeks ago, have dropped drastically, much to the delight of the residents.

Customers who were spending frugally on vegetables owing to their cost now shop generously for their favourite items. Karthika Selvakumar, a resident of Chitlapakkam, said “Until early March, I used to spend Rs.150-Rs.200 on vegetables for four days. Now, I am able to purchase the same quantity within Rs.100. I have once again started including lady's fingers and drumsticks in my daily menu.”

According to wholesale traders in Koyambedu market, most vegetables are usually priced less during summer owing to more arrivals. This time, good yield in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, from where Chennai gets most of its supply, have resulted in the produce costing cheaper than last summer. With the ban on fishing coming into force recently, price of seafood is also bound to increase in the next few days. S.Solomon who sells seafood at Anna Nagar said the price of seafood would go up by Rs.70 a kg. Many households have begun opting for vegetarian diet to reduce food expenditure.

At the wholesale market, onions are priced at Rs.10 a kg, tomatoes, brinjals and potatoes cost Rs.8 a kg. While beans and yam are some of the expensive vegetables, costing Rs.20 a kg, cabbage and cucumber priced at Rs.3-Rs.4 a kg are the most affordable.

Among the four varieties of brinjals, the ‘disco' variety is priced at Rs.3 in the wholesale market. S.Chandran, secretary of Koyambedu Market Licensed Merchants Association said the market normally receives only 10 tonnes of drumsticks daily. It has increased to 50 tonnes. This has brought down the price, which peaked to Rs.100 early this year, to Rs.22 a kg in the wholesale market.

“It is from here that the produce is supplied to other markets in the city, including Aminjikarai and Parrys' Corner. The cost of vegetables would remain stable until June,” he added.

However, many customers said that the decline in the wholesale rate does not often reflect in the retail market.

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