Surging fuel prices and crop damage because of heavy rainfall have pushed up the cost of vegetables like tomatoes and onions in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
In mid-September, tomatoes were selling at Rs 13.5 per kg (wholesale price) in Delhi's Azadpur market. In the same market, tomatoes now cost Rs 29.5 per kg. In the retail markets across Delhi as well as in the NCR region, tomatoes are selling at Rs 80-90 per kg.
The staple vegetable’s price has shot up over the past month. With heavy rainfall impacting high yield states like Karnataka and Maharashtra, a large portion of the harvested crop that was supposed to come to Delhi was damaged. The rise in fuel prices, inflationary pressures and increased demand have driven up the price of tomatoes procured from other states.
"The price of tomatoes in wholesale is Rs 60 per kg. Rain has disrupted production and supply chain, plus the increased price of petrol and diesel also played a role in surge," a vendor from Gazipur vegetable market told ANI.
Vendors and suppliers expect the prices to keep increasing in the coming weeks, with no respite from rising fuel prices or hope of additional supply.
Like tomatoes, onion prices too have risen from Rs 20-25 to Rs 50-55 per kg in less than a month. The prices of other vegetables have also increased by Rs 10-15 per kg in the wholesale market and by Rs 15-20 per kg in the retail market, data from agricultural produce market committees showed.
According to traders, food inflation has increased over the past few months as the cost of transporting vegetables from different states to Delhi has gone up by almost 18 percent due to successive hikes in diesel prices.
Besides, standing crops were damaged due to higher than normal rainfall in vegetable-producing states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra during the monsoon. This led to a shortage in supply.
In a recent research note, rating firm, Crisil Limited said, "Onions, a staple in most Indian households, are likely to make consumers cry again with erratic monsoon leading to an eventual delay in harvest."
Meanwhile, the cost of edible oil is also on the rise because of high global prices, further hurting the consumers.
Meanwhile, the central government has built a stock of 2,00,000 tonnes of onions to ensure that prices do not go beyond a certain limit during the current lean season.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST