Growing vegetables, a losing proposition

It’s the middleman who sets the terms. Farmers and consumers are hurt by fickle weather and volatile prices

I had grown this summer vegetable on the advice of fellow villagers, who opined on the basis of March 2013 prices of this vegetable that I would make a decent profit, even if I were able to sell the vegetable at rupees 10 a kg.

In March this year, okra prices in our local vegetable and fruit mandi, located at Lalganj bypass in Vaishali district of Bihar, were between rupees 25 and rupees 35. In Delhi and Patna at that time the price was rupees 70-rupees 80 a kg, just like last year.

Price plunge

My nightmare began soon after I started harvesting my crop in late April-early May: prices first fell to rupees 10-12 and continued sliding to hit the rock-bottom level of rupees 1 a kg.

This price level stayed for a month till it recovered to ?3 a Kg in June, swinging occasionally to rupees 5 a Kg. In late July and early August it recovered further to rupees 5-  7 per kg.

Then the much-awaited monsoon rains hit the north Bihar plains and there was water-logging everywhere. Consequently the crop stands ruined; supply has turned scarce, and prices have shot up to rupees 12-15 a kg.

As soon as okra prices crashed in the local market, even female farm workers, who help to pluck and bag the vegetables, deserted farmers such as for more


Source: Business Line

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