The stratospheric increase in vegetable prices has burnt a hole in the common man's pocket and failed to enrich farmers, but the middleman seems to profit.
Blamed on excess rains, pest menace, falling yield and more exports to neighbouring states, prices of Tomato, beetroot, carrot and onion zoomed from 20% to almost 100% in the last few months.
The issue came to light in the last one week when the price rise was almost 50%. Tomato, which cost Rs 25/Kg three months ago, is close to Rs 50/Kg in several places in the city. Farmers, however, get a meager Rs 10 or 12 per Kg.
A kilogram of Carrot costs Rs 80, double the wholesale price, but the farmers get only Rs 25.
"We are surprised to hear about these prices. There has been no change in how much we get. Everything goes to middlemen," said Manjunath, a farmer from Kunigal.
Nagaraj, a farmer from Anekal, admitted he did not suffer losses. "But I am surprised by the high market prices. Compared to market rates, we get very less," he said.
Wholesaler T Rajanna said the price rise happens at the retailer's end. "We pay the right amount to the farmers and ensure prices are reasonable," he asserts.
Retailers strongly reject such ideas. "If we jack up prices, the vegetables would remain unsold and perish," retailer Sandesh said.
Hopcoms director M Vishwanath said a 25% price difference between farm and market is not unusual. "Any hike beyond that will hurt consumers. At Hopcoms, we look at these differences before fixing the price," he said.
While it is usual for prices to drop post-monsoon, vegetable prices are going in the other direction this time around.