Thiruvananthapuram: Consumers in Kerala are paying through the nose as vegetable prices continued to soar in the last two months. Arrivals from Tamil Nadu continued to be sold in Kerala at double the price even as intermediaries in the trade are making a killing by selling to traders here at a hefty margin. Meanwhile, the arrival of 10 tonnes of tomato from Andhra Pradesh is expected to tame its price in the state, though there has been no marked change in the retail rates of most other vegetables despite direct procurement by the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp).
The intermediaries in the vegetable trade in Tamil Nadu are reportedly creating artificial shortage of vegetables, and thereby fleecing both vegetable dealers and consumers in Kerala.
The price of one kilogram of ladies finger is Rs 32 in Tamil Nadu. But when it reaches markets in Kerala, the price is Rs 50 per kilo. Brinjal is available in Tamil Nadu for Rs 50 per kg. In Kerala, it costs Rs 110 for the same quantity. Big Chilly (Thondan Mulaku) is sold at Rs 110 per kg in Tamil Nadu, while in Kerala it costs Rs 270 per 1 kg.
You will have to shell out double the price for a kilogram of curry leaves which is available for Rs 50 in Tamil Nadu. The same is the case with the price of other vegetables.
For some vegetables, the price charged in Kerala is even more than double the selling price in Tamil Nadu. Coriander leaves, which cost Rs 40 per kg there, are charged Rs 140 in Kerala.
Since November Tamil Nadu-based agents have substantially hiked the price of vegetables being sent to Kerala. They even scuttled the move of the Kerala Agriculture Department to procure vegetables from the Tamil Nadu markets directly through its agency Horticorp. The intermediaries buy all the vegetables cultivated by the farmers at a low price and then sell it to the Kerala traders for double the price.
Vegetables that arrive in Kerala mainly come from Tenkasi, Kambam, Theni and Ottanchathiram areas of Tamil Nadu.
As part of controlling the price of tomatoes in the open market, 10 tonnes procured by the Horticorp from the farmers of Mulakalacheruvu in Andhra Pradesh arrived at the World Market at Anayara in Thiruvananthapuram district on Monday.
This procurement is in addition to tomatoes and other vegetables procured from various places in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by the Horticorp.
Tomatoes were being procured on a large scale to meet the demand at the Christmas-New Year markets set up by the Agriculture Department, stated Kerala Agriculture Minister P Prasad.