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ANALYSIS

Wholesale, retail prices of veg up by 9% due to rise in festive demand
Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
While the supply of vegetables across India has declined by about four per cent, their average prices have risen by over 12 per cent and by about nine per cent in wholesale and retail markets in October 2017 owing to the rise in the festive demand.

These were the findings of an analysis conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) Economic Research Bureau (AERB) of data compiled by the National Horticulture Board (NHB), owned by the government of India.  

“The rise in wholesale and retail prices of different vegetables in Lucknow was maximum across 25-plus cities in India, thereby registering a growth of over 71 per cent and 52 per cent in October vis-a-vis September, while the supply of vegetables in the city declined by over 35 per cent,” it added.

“The lack of basic infrastructure puts significant strain in the arrival of vegetables, which results in more wastage during peak times of production and demand. Besides, because of their perishable nature, producers have to sell the produce immediately, as they fail to gain when prices rise,” said D S Rawat, secretary general, who released the Chamber’s analysis.

ASSOCHAM had analysed the price trends for various vegetables, including bitter gourd, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, chilly, okra, onion, peas, potato and tomato for September and October.

While the average wholesale price of the aforementioned vegetables across major cities in India was about Rs 1,873 per quintal in September, it rose to Rs 2,100 per quintal in October. “Similarly, the retail price rose from Rs 3,051 per quintal to Rs 3,320 per quintal,” stated the analysis.

Improper bagging without crating, a dearth of temperature-controlled vehicles, a lack of cold chain facilities, primitive food processing technology and other such factors collectively result in poor post-harvest storage and handling of agriculture produce in most parts of India.

The major drawbacks of the current supply chain are the high level of wastage, quality degradation, poor infrastructural facilities and high cost.

Thus, supply chain management in fruits and vegetables has to be improved in all stages of supply by adopting global best practices in storage, packaging, handling, transportation, value-added services and other areas to meet India’s demand for fruits and vegetables.

It is about time that the governments, at both the Centre and in the states, join hands with private players to improve physical infrastructure, information-sharing and services required for quality improvement of the supply chain.
 
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