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70% households paid more for tomatoes, potatoes & onions in 2020

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) Retail prices of household necessities, especially tomato, potato and onion have surged across the country as supply of these vegetables dropped due to heavy rain and flash floods, upsetting homemakers to manage their domestic budget at a time when the earnings of many households across the country was hit by the pandemic.

Updated Nov 02, 2020 06:18 AM

70% households paid more for tomatoes, potatoes & onions in 2020

LocalCircles conducted a survey to understand how much extra people have been spending to purchase per kilogram of onions, potatoes and tomatoes as consumers show discernment over the rising prices of these vegetables over the last two months.

It also tried to understand an average amount a household paid this year for buying these vegetables as compared to 2019. The survey received more than 16,000 responses from citizens across 242 districts of India. Of which, 58 per cent were from tier 1, 23 per cent from tier 2, and 17 per cent respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.

To the first question that asked, "What best describes the per kilogram price that your household paid for buying onion, potato and tomato in the latest purchase?" -- 8,273 responses were received from citizens.

Notably, 71 per cent citizens said they are paying more than Rs 50 per kg for tomato, Rs 40 per kg for potato, and Rs 50 per Kg for onion. In comparison to a similar survey by LocalCircles published on September 11, 2020, 61 per cent households had said they were paying more than Rs 60 per kg for tomato, Rs 30 per kg for potato, and Rs 25 per kg for onion.

This means that while an average retail price majority of households paid per kilogram for potatoes rose by 30 per cent and onions rose by 100 per cent, while the price for tomatoes fell by 15 per cent in just one month. The individual data on these three vegetables suggests that 42 per cent citizens bought "tomato at Rs 60 or higher, potato at Rs 60 or higher, and onions at Rs 70 or higher."

While the price per kilogram for tomato paid by majority of the citizens marginally reduced in the last 30 days, the price per kilogram for potato rose by 30 per cent and the price per kilogram for onion rose by 100 per cent upsetting the household budget for essentials.

The second question asked citizens, "Overall, in 2020, how much higher price has your household paid on average for tomato, potato and onion in comparison to 2019?" -- 7,904 citizens responded. Notably, 70 per cent households said they paid 25-100 per cent higher prices this year for buying per kilogram of tomato, potato, and onion

This is indicative of a significant squeeze given the fact that many households have faced significant loss of earnings or loss of employment during the pandemic. Sectors like tourism, hospitality and restaurants have faced severe cutbacks as people continue to limit movement because of the fear of COVID-19. Those employed in many such sectors are dipping into savings, taking high interest loans just to make ends meet.

Experts, citing government data, say that the trade of these perishable vegetables in the retail market goes up at different rates across states due to several factors from disrupted supplies, mainly due to unchecked regulation on its trade. Meanwhile, few states have started taking actions against vegetable hoarders, per se, in an effort to ensure affordable prices in the market but with limited success.

An unregulated hike in the price of these vegetables or essentials and groceries is not new to the country. For instance, a similar survey published by LocalCircles on September 11, 2020, found that 73 per cent households are spending more on monthly essentials and grocery items in comparison to pre COVID-19. In the months of March and April 2020, they reported being charged above the MRP cost as many were hoarding essentials fearing its shortages in the market facing COVID-19 lockdown at the time.

In the eight months of the pandemic, many are yet to fully recover from the giant-fall in their personal income facing job loss, salary cuts and delays. The rise in prices of household necessities have only added a burden to homemakers' woes, especially for low-income earning households.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-Media