Even as the lockdown restricted people’s access to fruits and vegetables, their prices have shot up in the past week.
The government has allowed pushcart vendors and extended the business hours of Hopcoms and other shops. But despite government orders not to jack up prices, vendors have hiked prices of fruits and vegetables, though wholesale costs have largely remained the same.
Pomegranate, for instance, is sold at Rs 150 a kilo in wholesale but retails at Rs 250. The prices of orange and sweet lemon (mosambi) that hovered around Rs 75 are now costing Rs 150 at local shops.
Drop in customers
A vendor attributed the price hike to a drop in regular customers. “Covid and the curfew have reduced the customers drastically. The cost of procurement has also escalated due to restricted movement. Increasing the price is the only way (for us) to make a living,” he said.
Wholesale traders also reported reduced procurement. “Most of the stock is unsold, but no change in prices. Limited competition may have led to price hike at the vendor level,” Wholesale Fruit Traders’ Development Association convener Syed Mahboob
Krishnappa, a vendor, once sold four or five lemons for Rs 10. “Due to high demand, we charge Rs 10 per lemon now,” he said.