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Survey identifies rising vegetable prices in India due to heatwave

A survey conducted by LocalCircles, encompassing over 48,000 household consumers from 343 districts in India, has unveiled concerns over escalating vegetable prices amid a severe heatwave. The survey reports increases in the prices of key vegetables like onions, potatoes, and tomatoes, adding to the economic pressures on households. India is currently facing a significant heatwave, leading to a reduction in vegetable supplies, despite governmental attempts to manage the situation through export restrictions and reduced import tariffs.

The annual summer decrease in vegetable availability has been exacerbated by the heat, with temperatures 4-9 degrees Celsius above the norm, affecting much of India. The anticipated monsoon, usually a boon for crop cultivation, has been delayed, contributing to an 18% shortfall in rainfall, impacting the planting of summer crops. The Reserve Bank of India Governor, Shaktikanta Das, during the monetary policy presentation on June 7, emphasized the adverse effects of the heatwave and low water levels on vegetable and fruit harvests, stressing the need to monitor the supply of pulses and vegetables closely.

Food inflation has remained a challenge in India throughout 2023, with the government reporting inflation rates of 28% for vegetables, among other staples. Experts believe that an increase in rainfall by early July could alleviate these pressures, assuming the rainfall is adequate. Tomato prices, in particular, have seen a sharp increase in the southern states.

The ongoing heatwave and delayed monsoon pose significant challenges to India's vegetable supply and pricing, with the next few weeks critical in determining the impact of expected rainfall on the agricultural sector.


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