Ash gourd sales skyrocket in City

Increase in the number of growers of the vegetable, low prices attributed


In a mere one week’s time, a record sale of 40 tonnes of ash gourd has taken place at HOPCOMS outlets. This is nearly double the sales registered the previous year. This is not to say that more evil eyes were cast this year! It is just that the number of growers of the vegetable have increased considerably. The prices too have been pegged lower this year. 

According to HOPCOMS Managing Director, Dr D N Maheshwar, the boom was due to increased supply from wholesalers.

“Last year only 25 tonnes of the vegetable was sold by HOPCOMS dealers during Ayudha Pooja and not many farmers raised it. Due to increase in growers this time around, nearly 50 members supplied an average of six tonnes to us and we decided to reduced the gourd’s price to Rs. 7 per kg,” he informed.
Ayudha Pooja is the only time when more people buy this vegetable for pooja purpose apart from cooking, he added.

A local HOPCOMS dealer, however, said that even the reduced price at HOPCOMS shops faced stiff competition from local vendors.
 
Throwaway prices
“People will obviously choose to buy from a cheaper place and local vendors were selling ash gourds at throwaway prices.” He had another interesting viewpoint. “The high price of lemons, Rs 130 per kg, has made people opt for a cheaper substitute. So, many settle down for ash gourd.”  

Girish, a vegetable supplier to the local market has singly supplied 120 loads. One load works out to approximately 10 tonnes. He says that in spite of the high volumes, he has not raked much profits.

“Last year there was less supply and one kilogram of ash gourd was sold for upto Rs 60.  But this time there were more suppliers from Tamil Nadu mainly from Thirukovilur, Thanjavur, Trichy and Ananthapur who grew more ash gourds for this season.  Initially, we tried to sell for Rs 4 per kg but now at Rs 1 per kg, we have not found many buyers,” he said.

The local vegetable sellers have incurred a loss this season, says Rammana from Annapoorneshwari vegetable stall in Jayanagar.
“We purchased more ash gourds thinking that more people will buy, as the price had touched so low. But out of 1,000 kgs that we bought, we could sell only 12 kgs of ash gourds. Only street vegetables vendors have made some profit,” he feels. This vegetable has a limited shelf life and will turn stale soon, he pointed out.
DH News Service

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