A study of various vegetable markets popularly known as Mandis, revealed that during the period from April to June, the retail vendors were found selling vegetables 80 percent costlier than the wholesale rates.
The difference can be observed in the rate at which the vegetables are available at Kalamna, then at Cotton Market and then at various vegetable Mandies. (In the city we have Itwari, Somwari, Mangalwari, Budhwari, Shukrawari and Shaniwari markets). There are fixed days of a week where vegetables are sold.
One can see that the retailers and vendors sell vegetables 48.8% costlier than the wholesale prices.
Onion has seen a significant increase in the price hike. Onion increased from 35.3% percent to 48.1%. Wholesale price indicates the price at which retailers are buying from different markets and retail price is the price at which consumers are buying from retailers. The study has observed that most of the vegetables’ arrival has recorded declining trend except local tomato, potato fresh and onion (noticeably onion price during 2013-14 has recorded life time high). Onion arrival grew at a rate of 13.0 percent during 2013-14.
Nagpur Today spoke to Cotton Market wholesale merchant of Onion and Potatoes Rajesh Shrikande who said that Onion was sold at Rs 380-Rs 400 per 40 kg bag (i.e. 9.50/kg to 10/kg) two months ago. However, this rate increased to a startling high of Rs 800/40 kgs to Rs 900/40 kgs. The retail rate of Onion was Rs 25 to Rs 28/kg. He added that the rates of Onion sold by petty shopkeepers and vendors at various markets can go up to Rs 30 or 40 /kg. He added that Gokulpeth is the costliest market in the entire region.
The rates of Potatoes too underwent a hike but not so significantly. In the wholesale market, the rate of Potato was Rs 400/40 kgs and in the retail market the rate was Rs 12 to 15 /kg. The price hike was anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 28/kg.
According to Shrikande, the main reason for the hike in prices is due to hoarding by brokers. He felt it necessary for the State Government to take action against such brokers. In the bargain, the farmers and the middle class buyers are at loss and suffer most.
The major part of Onion is grown only in Nashik for the entire nation (around 70 %). However, Onion also is grown in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat (10 % each). The super quality of Onion is never available for the local consumption since the entire produce is exported. With the exports halted for the last few years, these high quality onions too are available for local consumption.
Potatoes are not grown in Maharashtra. They are grown in Kanpur, Agra, West Bengal, Punjab and Chhindwara in MP.
One significant fact that he brought out was that the rate of vegetables is not costlier because of hike in prices of Diesel. He vehemently said that hoarding is the main reason for the price rise.
At Kalamna, a wholesale trader of Onion and Potatoes Rajesh Dhole said that the prices are up because the crop got destroyed last year. He too opined that not only the brokers, even the farmers are hoarding the onions and potatoes with a hope that the process may go up and they will get a good price. He said that MP has a lot of onion, but is hoarded in large quantities by the famers. He opined that if the State Government decides to do away with the middlemen and brokers, then they should make the cost of Onion uniform in the entire country, then the brokers will not hoard the vegetables.
He opined that the rates of green vegetables keep changing on a day to day basis. The price on any given day will depend on the demand and supply. If a large quantity arrives in the market, the rates will be low and if the quantity is less, and the demand for the particular vegetable is more, the rates hike too.