Ludhiana: As searing heatwave persists, vegetable prices double in a week - Hindustan Times
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Ludhiana: As searing heatwave persists, vegetable prices double in a week

By, Ludhiana
Jun 16, 2024 08:57 PM IST

Onion, which is among the most important items in our kitchens, is being sold at a ₹30 per kg at the wholesale markets in Ludhiana

As the unrelenting heatwave continued across the state, it started to impact the pockets of people, with the prices of vegetables almost doubling over the week. The staple vegetables, such as potatoes, onions and tomatoes saw a significant price rise.

The temperatures have remained over 40°C in the past week in Ludhiana. (HT Photo)
The temperatures have remained over 40°C in the past week in Ludhiana. (HT Photo)

Onion, which is among the most important items in our kitchens, is now being sold at a 30 per kg at the wholesale markets. Just a week ago, one could buy onion for 18 per kg.

Similarly, a 50 kg bag of potatoes, which was available at 600 last week, is being sold for over 1,000. For tomatoes, the prices have jumped from 20 to 30 and 40 over the week, depending on the quality and varieties.

“It is extremely hard to go out for labour work in this heat. And for the half day of work that one can get in, one hardly earns 200 to 300. And with the prices of vegetables almost doubling, how is a poor man such as me supposed to feed his family,” lamented Sandeep, a migrant labourer.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 45 degrees Celsius in the city on Sunday. The city has been reeling under temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius over the last week. The India Meteorological Department has issued a severe heatwave warning for next two days. A heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature of a weather station is at least 40 degrees Celsius in the plains and at least 30 degrees Celsius in hilly regions, or it is 4.5 to 6.4 degrees Celsius above the normal temperature.

Ladyfinger, which was selling at 17 to 18 last week, is now taking around 25 per kg out of a commoner’s pocket. Bootle gourd’s price has spiked to 40 per kg, against 18 last week. The story is no different for capsicum, which saw a price hike from 20 per kg to 36 per kg in the same period. Garlic, which was selling at 200 per kg last week, now costs 250.

“We have seen the prices shoot above 100 per kg for onion in the past. The way the prices are going up so quickly, one feels that it may soon turn into a similar situation,” said Ritu, a 40-year-old homemaker who was buying supplies at the market.

Price likely to go further up: Wholesalers

The wholesalers at the mandi say that the prices are likely to go further up. A dealer said that as the temperature increased, the production was adversely hit and as the demand remained the same, the prices went up. One could explain the phenomenon using the demand-supply chain principle of economics, which says that if there are more takers for any commodity as compared to a market’s production capacity, the prices would go up. In a reverse scenario where the number of takers is less than the production capacity, the prices would dip.

Rachin Arora, a wholesaler at the market, said that on average, the price of every vegetable has increased by at least 15.

Virender Kumar, who owns a shop at the old vegetable market, said that while the wholesale prices had gone up, the customers insisted on discounts, which meant that his profits dipped.

“I was buying cucumber at 12 per kg last week and selling at 20. Now, it costs me 20 per kg and the customers are unwilling to pay more than 25.”

According to the wholesalers, vendors selling vegetables at retail prices across the city are adding a profit margin of 5 to 15, depending on the vegetable. This further adds to the strain on the commoners’ pockets.

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