By Pramod Kumar Jha
New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The demand for vegetables and fruits in the wholesale markets have declined significantly since the lockdown came into force on March 24 midnight as bulk buyers are staying away, said MR Kripani, President, Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Association.
According to him, demand for fruits and vegetables have dropped around 60 percent as hotels, dhabas and restaurants are closed and supply to outstations is completely hampered.
Anticipating a shortfall in supply of fruits and vegetables during the lockdown period, people have started hoarding them, which has led to a price surge, he added.
As an effective measure to break the chain of coronavirus spread, a 21-day nationwide lockdown has been enforced, but supply of essential goods has been allowed during the lockdown.
As the regular supply exceeded demand, prices of vegetables in the wholesale markets as well as retailers’ shops dropped, said a wholesaler of vegetables.
Adil Ahmad Khan, Chairman, Azadpur Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), also confirmed that supply of vegetables in the mandi is higher than their demand, that’s why the prices are down.
He said, fruits are supplied across north India from the Azadpur market but due to lockdown, buyers from other states are not coming.
As per the market sources, supply of vegetables and fruits has also weakened in the wholesale market due to a considerable shortfall in consumption demand as hotels, dhabas, restaurants are closed, while events are also not being organised.
Prices of onion, potato, tomato and other green vegetables fell due to slack of demand at Azadpur Mandi, said Rajendra Sharma, Chairman, Azadpur Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC).
Prices of onion have declined by around Rs 7 a kg since the lockdown came into force, he added.
Sharma said, Bulk buyers are staying away from the markets while retailers’ demand for vegetables has also declined.
According to market sources, wholesale prices of potatoes are ruling at Rs 13-16 a kilo, which were at Rs 15-22 a kilo few days ago. Similarly, onion prices have dropped from Rs 15-26 a kg to Rs 9-16 per kg, said a market source.
Sharma said, due to weak demand for vegetables, business is down in the markets and farmers are also not getting the remunerative prices for their produce.
Sonu, a retailer of fruits and vegetables at greater Noida, said that a few days ago, he was selling a common variety of potato at Rs 25-30 per kg which is now priced at Rs 20 a kg as wholesale prices have come down.
He said there is no dearth of fruits and vegetables in the wholesale market and prices have also come down significantly, but he has to spend more on transportation.