Thiruvananthapuram: The prices of vegetables in retail shops across Kerala continues to remain exorbitant since they shot up over a month ago soon after heavy rains across south India. Though vegetables are available for reasonable prices in Horticorp outlets, the stock is insufficient.
The trends in the retail market suggest that the prices have not started dipping. In Thiruvananthapuram's prominent wholesale market at Chala, 1 kg tomato is sold at Rs 60.
In major wholesale markets, the price of tomatoes has come down to Rs 60-Rs 70 range. But this change has not percolated into the retail sector. The price of 1 kg of tomatoes remains at Rs 90 in almost every retail shop.
The prices of brinjal, ladies finger, bitter gourd, beetroot, beans and cucumber continue to remain above Rs 100 in retail shops. This has been the scene for the last many days.
Drumstick is the costliest vegetable in the market right now. It costs Rs 320 in the wholesale market and a little over it in retail shops. But in the Horticorp-run outlet, it costs only Rs 89.
Horticorp has not changed the price of many vegetables which was fixed two weeks ago. The government agency fixed the beans price at Rs 63, but now it is available for Rs 60 in wholesale markets. But in retail vegetable shops, it costs around Rs 120.
There are also complaints that many vegetable products are not available in Horticorp outlets.
Pact with TN
The price of vegetables can be reduced only through the state government's intervention in the open market. Keeping this in mind, the Kerala government under the aegis of Horticorp is set to enter into an agreement with the Tamil Nadu government next week on the direct procurement of vegetables.
This agreement is going to be inked at a time when the middlemen operating in vegetable markets in Tamil Nadu are scuttling the attempts by the Kerala Government to directly procure vegetables from Tamil Nadu as part of its steps to curb the price rise for vegetables.