Tough to buy pricey produce

Fresh Items

Tough to buy pricey produce

It’s that time of the year when the markets are flooded with all kinds of fresh, delicious and brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables that are of the best quality during these few months — strawberry, custard apple, carrot, beetroot, brinjal, bitter gourd, beans, peas, cabbage, radish and so on.

But as is the case with each passing year, the market prices seem to be soaring skywards, with homemakers struggling to enjoy the bounty of the season without burning a hole in their pockets.

“This is the festive season in Bangalore and most families have to shop for various functions and parties. The other day, I bought one pomegranate which cost Rs 100. Apples and even bananas cost up to Rs 80 a kilo now,” informs Jayashree S, a homemaker.

“Every article on health tips suggests that we eat a lot of fruits and most of us end up shelling out the big bucks for them. Farmers and middlemen are victims of inflation too. But now that they’re aware of the fact that health buffs will buy their produce irrespective of prices, they find it convenient to increase their rates,” she adds angrily.

In fact, a kilogram of spinach costs Rs 22 these days and strawberries can go up to Rs 300 per kilogram. Most of the time, even haggling doesn’t help one’s cause.

There are some housewives who have just accepted the state of things. “During the winter, crops grow slower because of the weather. We just need to buy veggies and fruits that are the cheapest in the market,” shares homemaker Kamala R, adding “things have gone on becoming expensive. The jasmine flower was two rupees for a garland in 1995 and today, it costs Rs 25.”

While the prices at local markets vary because the farmers get their stock from different regions, the price fluctuation is also tangible at HOPCOMS (The Horticultural Producer’s Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society Limited) outlets, where a consolidated price list is decided, circulated and exhibited at each outlet every morning.

“The soaring prices are nothing unusual. Winter supplies have always been more expensive than summer fruits and vegetables because of the conditions they are grown in. At least in shops like HOPCOMS, you know that you’re not getting cheated by middlemen. It’s as reasonable as it is any year,” notes Vijeta, a regular customer at the Sankey Road outlet.

At Town Essentials, a grocery store in Yeshwantpur, the HOPCOMS rates are maintained, as is the case with many big groceries. “We purchase directly from the farmers and give the same rates as other places. But we have better quality fruits and vegetables in terms of their size and taste,” informs Ambaraj, an employee.

“The prices of off-season items are obviously higher, like potatoes and onions. But carrots, grapes, spinach and other winter items cost around the same as they did last year,” he concludes.

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