Vegetable that costs Rs 100 in the wholesale mandi, costs upward of Rs 152.70 when you buy it from retailers. And, in the case of the aam aadmi's staple fare, the potato, it has doubled up to Rs 200 in the neighbourhood shops.
“There is a huge gap between retail and wholesale prices of vegetables,” says ASSOCHAM secretary general D.S. Rawat, worrying over the fact that the market arrivals of vegetables are contracting despite it being the peak production season. For the worse, he says, there will be more pressure on market arrivals as the production seasons ends. This could only be bad news: vegetable prices may go up in the near future.
The gap between the wholesale and retail prices is as much as over 75 per cent in some cases like brinjal (round) and over 62 per cent for tomato (desi or local). In terms of locational gaps, it is notoriously high by as much as over 80 per cent in places like Mumbai, Delhi and Patna while in several other cities, it is well over 50 per cent.
Prices of most of vegetables like potato, cabbage, chilly, tomato, cauliflower, brinjal and okra have seen a 20-100 per cent rise. This is due to the low arrivals of the harvest in the mandis during the April-July period of 2016.
At the retail level, potato store went up by over 100 per cent during April-July this year compared to the same period in 2015. Cabbage (49.3 percent), chilly (47.8 percent), garlic (37.0 percent), cauliflower (33.9 percent), tomato local (26.0 percent), tomato hybrid (25.6 percent), potato fresh (25.0 percent), okra (22.3 percent), and brinjal round (20.8 percent) have also showed an upward trend.
Lack of basic infrastructure puts further strain in the arrival of vegetables resulting in more wastage of vegetables during peak time of production. Because of their perishable nature, producers have to sell the vegetables immediately. In general, producers do not gain when prices increase.
An ASSOCHAM study emphasised the need for building cold storage facilities in production centres. “Government should improve infrastructure facility by encouraging PPP initiative for the development of cold storage. Also, there is a need to develop infrastructure that could be directly accessible to the farmers and bridge the gap between fields and markets,” the study emphasized.