INDIA: Fruits prices shoot up in summer


Prices of grapes, watermelon and pomegranate have shot up in the last few days and are likely to rise further.

 

Unseasonal rain in early March have damaged crops across the state, resulting in a drop in supply. Coconuts too have become dearer. Three straight droughts in other areas have resulted in low yield and a regular-sized coconut now costs `26.

 

“In Bagalkot district, 2,250 hectares of grapes have suffered over 50 per cent damage. It is the same in Bijapur, Belgaum and Koppal,” D L Maheshwarappa, director of the Horticulture Department, told Express. In Bijapur, the rain has destroyed watermelon in 2,500 hectares and pomegranate in 636 hectares.

 

The department estimates the overall damage at 40 per cent.

 

Nagini Chandrashekar, director of  Horticultural Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (HOPCOMS), said it is natural for the demand for grapes to rise every summer.

 

“We used to supply over five tonnes every day, but now that has come down to two. The supply of watermelon to HOPCOMS has fallen by 20 per cent and that’s why the rates have gone up,” she said.

 

She expects the situation to improve in the next 15 to 20 days. “Grapes from Chikballapur and Hoskote and watermelon from Ramanagar and Mandya will come into the market and the prices may fall,” she said.

 

K B Dundi, joint director of Plantation Crops and Plant Protection of the Horticulture Department, said coconut trees were yielding fewer nuts.

 

“We used to count 60 coconuts a tree but now the number is less than 40. That’s the reason a coconut which used to cost Rs 12 now costs Rs 26,” he said.

 

With drought hitting one lakh of the state’s 4.91 lakh hectares growing coconuts, the yield has fallen to 7,000 coconuts a hectare. It is lower by 50 per cent, compared to Tamil Nadu.

 

This is a bad time not just for consumers but for farmers as well. “Rescheduling and waiving of interest on loans may help farmers,” said M K Shankarlinge Gowda, former secretary of the Horticulture Department.

 

Fruit traders at Russel Market in the city are also complaining of short supply.

 

“A kilo of pomegranate now costs Rs 160. We were selling it at Rs 150 a week ago. Watermelon is now Rs 17, up from Rs 12 last week,” said a HOPCOMS official.

 

Check the Rates

 

At Russell and Johnson Markets, the rate of fruits have gone up by `10. The following are the rates of different fruits at HOPCOMS as on Monday (all per kg):

Grapes Flame Rs 65

Grapes Krishna

Sharad Rs 100

Grapes Sonika Rs 66

Watermelon Rs 17

Pomegranate Rs 160

Coconut Rs 26 per nut

 

Loss Worth Crores in Bijapur District

 

Bijapur: Hailstorm and unseasonal rains have destroyed agriculture and horticulture crops worth crores in the district. The storm that first hit the district on February 27, has shown no signs of subsiding with Indi taluk being the worst-hit. More than 70,000 hectares of standing crops have been destroyed.

 

Source: The New Indian Express




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