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Buy 'bhindi' at Rs160/kg in Mumbai

Wholesale and retail prices of veggies skyrocket due to weather conditions, bad storage facilities.

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Buy 'bhindi' at Rs160/kg in Mumbai
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Would you buy okra (bhindi) for Rs160/kg? That’s the current price of the vegetable in Jogeshwari.

Households and restaurants are being forced to tighten their purse strings thanks to the skyrocketing prices of vegetables in the last three months.   

The early onset of summer in Maharashtra has not only increased the prices of unseasonal vegetables, but also seasonal greens such as spinach (palak) and fenugreek (methi).

Spinach, fenugreek and lal-saag that cost Rs8-10 per bundle in January are now priced at Rs12-15 per bundle.

Until February, one lemon cost 60paise. It is now sold for Rs2 per piece in the wholesale market. And Mumbaikars suffer more as the prices escalate in the retail market. In Jogeshwari, lemon cost Rs5 a piece.

“With such high prices, how can we maintain our monthly budget?” asks Shwetha Shetty, a Kandivli homemaker.
The biggest offender, though, seems to be the unassuming bhindi. It wholesale market price has more than doubled in the last two months from Rs20-22/kg to Rs45/kg.

The prices of beans have tripled from Rs20-22/kg in January to Rs70-80/kg in the wholesale markets and as high as Rs90/kg in local markets.

Though Harish Shetty, manager of Alankar restaurant, buys vegetables at the wholesale market, he too feels the pinch. “When the prices of bhindi, cucumber and lemons quadruple within a month, of course, it lightens your wallet. If the prices of vegetables keep rising at this rate, we will have to increase the prices in our menu too,” he says.

A few vegetable vendors have even stopped stocking these “pricey” vegetables. “To make a profit we have to sell bhindi at Rs60-70/kg, but no one will buy them at this rate.  So, we get bhindi on when we get an order,” says Raju Mane, a vendor in Lower Parel.

The situation is worse in the suburbs. This disparity in the prices between the island city and the suburbs is because vegetables sold in the suburbs are of better quality, says Shankar Pingle, director, APMC, Mumbai.

He explains that the sharp rise in vegetable prices is due to the low supply caused by adverse weather conditions.
Another reason for the sharp hike in the prices of unseasonable vegetables is lack of proper storage facilities.

But, there is some good news for Mumbaikars. Prices of onion, potato, cauliflower and cabbage have only increased slightly and are still within the comfort zone of the common man.

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