By: Rahul Deka
The current situation of floods in the State has damaged around 50,000 bighas of agricultural fields.
This has left the farmers and consumers helpless as the prices of the vegetable have skyrocketed.
The vegetable prices have hiked with each and every item being sold at Rs 40-60 per kg at the wholesale markets more than its usual price until a few weeks back.
Though, the prices of onion and potato have not seen many hikes. While there is none to control from the government for the rest of the vegetable items.
During the period of floods, the agriculture market is essentially a haven for the middlemen where they can make more money than usual. Vegetables like carrot, gourd, ridge gourd, brinjal, lady’s finger, tomato, etc have been left to rot in the fields.
Vegetable growers are the worst affected ones in the lower and middle part of Assam including Nagaon, Dhing, Morigaon, Barpeta road, Sorbhog, etc. where vegetables are mostly grown in the State. The prices of items like cabbage, tomato, radish, etc that come from Meghalaya rises as soon as it arrives in Assam.
In Guwahati- ridge gourd (Zika) is sold at Rs 60 per kg against its usual price of Rs 30 per kg, lady’s finger at Rs 60/70 per kg against its usual Rs 40 per kg, carrot at Rs 100 per kg against Rs 60 per kg, brinjal at Rs 60/70 per kg against Rs 40 per kg, tomato at Rs 100 per kg against Rs 60/70 per kg.
The sellers left helpless with the impact of flood said that they can’t do anything because they just bring it from a market to sell there and if they did not get the invested money than they might go in the loss as usual during last week.
Another seller said, “Sometimes they call for a higher price because this is the only way to get the invested money back. As the price of the vegetables has been increased, the customers have stopped buying those items as a result of which we are bound to throw away the left vegetable.”
On the other hand, the customer said that Agricultural Marketing Board doesn’t have any hold over prices in the market that solely depends on demand and supply of the products, and due to floods, all the markets are totally devasted. Another customer said that they have no other option but to buy them because they need to eat and the hike in price won’t serve their hunger.
On last Wednesday, through a video conferencing, Assam Financial Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had ordered to all the DC’s of 33 districts to take strict action against price hike in their respective districts.
It is not certain as to when a farmer will get compensation for his loss of vegetable as it is a long-drawn-out process.