Tomato routed to Pak as veggie prices skyrocket in Delhi
According to agriculture market observers, if the focus continued on export instead of delivery in the domestic market, the prices will go through the ceiling. Traders from vegetable wholesale markets say despite good supply of vegetables arriving in the city from various parts of the country, there is acute shortage in the local market due to the ‘export first’ policy. Their estimate says more than one third of total supply of tomato and bottle gourd are being exported to Pakistan. The vegetables on the export menu also include ladyfinger, cabbage and bitter gourd.
“Of the 40 to 45 trucks of tomato which arrive daily at the Azadpur Agricultural Produce Market, 15 make onward journey towards Wagah border en route to Pakistan. The supplies are mostly coming from from Gujarat and bordering districts of Rajasthan. Export fetches an additional profit of Rs 5 on each kg, thus the rush to move the trucks towards the border.
There are days when due to high demand in Pakistan, the regular traffic of 15-20 trucks goes up to 35 trucks. In addition, five to ten trucks of other vegetables regularly move towards the neighbouring country,” said Jaswant Singh, a trader at Azadpur. The trend was confirmed by vegetable sellers of retail market, who claimed that for the past couple of weeks, the wholesale traders in Delhi have doubled rates and people are being forced to shell out hefty price for vegetables. The trade in the smaller mandis of Ghazipur, Keshav Puram and Okhla have also been affected “Wholesale price of tomato is varying between Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 per kg and rate of pea is above Rs. 40 per kg.
Cauliflower is being sold above Rs. 22 per kg while spinach is available above Rs. 25 per kg. As wholesale price of vegetables is exorbitant, we have no option than selling the same on higher prices,” said Rajesh Kumar Kesri, a retail vegetable seller of Adarsh Nagar.