CHENNAI: Ahead of Pongal, customers, and retailers thronged the Koyambedu wholesale market after two years of the pandemic. Traders witnessed at least 90 per cent sales in the last two days, which led to a further increase in vegetable prices by 20 per cent. The market receives over 550 vehicles of commodities due to the festival season, and the wastage has drastically reduced.
"Almost after two years, prices and sales increased during the festival season this year. Though the market receives an adequate supply of vegetables from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, due to surge in demand among the customers the prices increased by 20 per cent. At least 75 per cent was festival business this year unlike the previous years affected by covid pandemic,” said P Sukumaran, Secretary, Koyambedu Wholesale Market Merchants.
He said that after four days the prices are likely to be reduced, but there won't be a shortage in supply for the next two – three months in the city. At present, Brinjal sold for Rs 50 – Rs 60 per kg, ladies finger Rs 70 per kg, drumstick Rs 100 per kg, carrots Rs 60 per kg. However, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes are sold between Rs 15 and Rs 25 per kg.
On the other hand, the price of sugarcanes had decreased compared to last year due to an increase in production during the monsoon season. Sugarcane is being sold between Rs 20 - Rs 30 per bundle. Ginger is sold for Rs. 40 per kg last year, whereas now it has come down to Rs 10 per kg. Similarly, the rate of turmeric falls between Rs 5 - Rs 10 per kg.
"Though the wholesales are doing great, the public turn-up does not even amount to 20 percent. Through direct sales to the public, we will be able to make a little profit, but people are hesitant to visit crowded places post-pandemic and purchase from the nearest retail shops," said S Muthukumar, a semi-wholesale trader at Koyambedu market.
The market management committee has taken some precautionary measures to ensure easy commuting inside the market and has lessened the traffic problems. Meanwhile, the prices of vegetables, and sugarcane are sold at a higher price in retail shops in the city, compared to the wholesale market.