Second day of farmers’ stir takes prices high, leaves markets dry

The farmers’ strike hit Mumbai hard on just its second day , halving supplies to the Vashi APMC, doubling pri ces of greens like coriander and halting the arrival of onions. Kitchens, including those in restaurants, will find the going tough if the agitation continues beyond the weekend.

Not a single onion truck arrived in the Vashi market, indicating the strike’s appeal in Nashik district which provides onions to the entire state and large parts of the country . While only eight to 10 items could reach the APMC against the regular 94 kitchen staples. Even the quantum of produce halved on Friday , compared to Thursday and Wednesday .Atotal of 43,827 quintals of fruits and vegetables arrived on Friday as against 70,246 quintals on Thursday and 78,272 quintals on Wednesday , shows data from the state’s marketing department.

Overnight, retail prices of vegetables and fruits doubled in certain localities, partly because wholesale rates rose and retailers chose to take advantage of the situation. Coriander was a stinging Rs 150-200 for a big bunch, prompting several vendors not to stock it.

Andheri resident Shyam More said, “There was no spike in vegetable prices which normally occurs between March to May . But this two-day strike has turned the situation upside down. The fear is milk supplies could be affected in the days to come, which will worsen our predicament.” The Andheri municipal market wore a forlorn look. Greengrocer Iqbal said, “I sourced merely a few items like cauliflower, cabbage, spinach and green chillies for the day . I did not stock tomato or brinjal as wholesale prices were high and I would suffer losses if there are no customers.” By Friday evening, Iqbal sold cauliflower at his cost price of Rs 50, only to clear his stock.

In Matunga, one of the most expensive markets in the city , seller Bhavesh Baarvechose to shut shop for a day . “Vegetables in Vashi market were so expensive, I chose not to buy . I will assess the situation on Saturday ,” he said.

Adarsh Shetty , president of AHAR, an association of over 8,000 bars and restaurants in the city , said restaurant and bar owners had enough stocks to cater to customers till Sunday . “If the agitation continues on Monday , the food business may be adversely affected,” he added.

Fruit sellers at Crawford Market were anxious about the strike continuing into the weekend. Trader Pradeep Phalke said, “When vegetables have spiralled to Rs 80-120 per kg, few will buy fruits.”

Aftab Ahmed Khan, chairman, Mumbai Egg Traders Association, said, “Trucks of eggs and chicken, which come from Hyderabad, are held up at Umergaon on the border. If they can’t reach Mumbai, prices may rise by Monday or Tuesday .”



Source: Times Of India

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