SRINAGAR: Vegetable prices in Kashmir Valley are likely to come down in the next week as dry, warm weather since last week leads to improvement in the supplies.
Due to the flood-threatening rains received in the last weeks of March, the Valley suffered an acute shortage of fresh vegetables. The reason being the closure of Jammu-Srinagar highway and the damage caused by unseasonal rains to winter crops in the north Indian states, which are the major supplier of vegetables to the Valley.
The vegetable prices skyrocketed, with even homegrown kale, one of most consumed vegetables in the region, selling for close to Rs 100 a kilogram. The varieties coming from outside turned rare and close to being unaffordable for an average consumer.
However, the situation has started to improve, according to the vegetable wholesalers and retailers here.
“Last week, kale was selling for Rs 60 in the wholesale market. But the situation has eased off, with the wholesale price reducing to half on Tuesday,” Fayaz Ahmad, a wholesaler at Iqbal Wholesale Sabzi Mandi here, told Kashmir Reader.
“All vegetables will undergo a decline in prices in the coming days,” he added.
The dealers said potato prices have substantially decreased as a result of bumper produce in Punjab, giving some respite to the consumers.
Many wholesalers said the freight rates to the Valley are running at its highest this time, adding to the consumers’ burden, they said.
The escalation in vegetable prices, according to traders dealing in locally-grown vegetables, was also a result of damage to the most fields in Dal, Noor Bagh, and Budgam areas.
The local produce has only partly recovered from the unpleasant situation created due to the rainfall. While the cultivation in interiors of the Dal and other lakes has started to pick up, the vegetable fields in the areas like old city are yet to return to normal.
Ghulam Muhammad Suhul, one of the growers from Kawadara in old Srinagar, told Kashmir Reader that their standing crop of kale was hit by rains while the fields are still partly inundated.
“We had to go for new sowing, and it may take some time before we can hit the market with our produce,” he said.
Mudasir Ahmad, also a grower from Kawdara, said the prices of locally-produced vegetable might continue to remain high. “Crisis isn’t over yet,” he said.