India: Veg prices down, but customers have no cash to buy them

The Indian government's surprise demonetisation policy is adversely affecting the fresh produce industry, as consumers are lacking valid currency notes to pay for fruit and vegetables. The ever-bustling Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) yards and markets, across the Marathwada region, witnessed a sharp drop in business on Thursday 10 Nov.

Farmers, middlemen and retailers could not close deals because of a severe shortage of valid currency notes. A drop in trading activities was also reported from Osmanabad, Beed, Jalna and other districts.

"Everyone in the market was trying to push Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. On the other hand, there were no takers for those notes," Isa Khan, a wholesale dealer from the city-based Jadhavwadi market said.

Adding to the woes, prices of all agriculture produce, particularly vegetables, fell significantly after the Centre scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. Onions, potatoes and other vegetables prices have been witnessing a sharp dip in prices after the Centre scrapped the high-value currency notes. Green vegetable prices, including that of coriander, spinach, 'methi' among others, slipped by almost 50% over the last two days dampening farmers' expectations. Prices of cauliflower, cabbage, ladies finger, capsicum and green chilies also fell by around 40% to 50%.

Ratan Wakde, a farmer from Danora village from the district's Gangapur taluka, sold ginger in the Jadhavwadi market on Thursday at a wholesale rate of Rs 1,400 a quintal, which is Rs 800 less than Sunday's price. "On Sunday, ginger was priced at Rs 2,200 a quintal, but I do not understand the sudden drop," Wakde said.

(1 Indian Rupee=0.015USD)


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