Prices of vegetables soar in Kerala amid COVID-19 lockdown

Prices of vegetables soar in Kerala amid COVID-19 lockdown

Thiruvananthapuram/Kumily: The state has been witnessing a steady increase in the price of vegetables after the entire country was put under lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A good number of the shops in the Chala vegetable market in Thiruvananthapuram has been shut as fewer truckloads of vegetables are arriving from Tamil Nadu. Chala is the biggest vegetable market in Kerala capital.

Shallots, that were sold for Rs 55 per kg last week, are now available for Rs 90. The price of onions has increased from Rs 30 to Rs 40-50.

The price of tomatoes has doubled from Rs 20 to Rs 40, while the price of potatoes increased from Rs 26 to Rs 38.

The price of Lemon has also seen an increase from Rs 48 to Rs 85. The Horticorp does not have enough vegetables either to stabilise the prices.

The spiralling prices are reported even when the government has been reiterating that the availability of essential commodities would be ensured and that inflation would be controlled.

The groceries have also seen a steep price rise. The price of chicken, which was available for Rs 15 to Rs 45 per kg, is now sold at Rs 80.

Less supply

Oddanchatram, one of the key markets in Tamil Nadu, that supplied vegetables to south Kerala has been shut. This has led to fewer loads of vegetables reaching Kerala, the merchants have explained.

Instead several people are collecting vegetables directly from farms and selling those in the markets.

The police are not stopping any of the vegetable trucks along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. However, these vehicles face obstacles on their return journey.

The markets in Tamil Nadu that supply vegetables to Kerala are also facing a shortage. These markets were controlled by middlemen, who acted as the link between the farmers and the wholesalers.

Based on the requirement of the wholesalers in Kerala, these middlemen used to procure the vegetables from farms and stock up the markets. After travel restrictions were imposed, the middlemen do not receive advanced orders and hence have stopped collecting vegetables. Those from Kerala are now mostly buying vegetables from Uzhavar market and local markets.

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