16 May, 2021

Where Cabbages Are Only For Kings

Veggie prices have hit the roof because middlemen rule

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Where Cabbages Are Only For Kings

This winter Indians have a diet plan they can finally stick to. As vegetable prices skyrocket, consumers are spending more but their grocery bags are much lighter. The latest numbers tell it all: potatoes were retailing at 102 per cent more in the second week of December than a year ago. On average, fruits and vegetables are 33 per cent more expensive than in December ’08. Even cereals cost 13 per cent more, and pulses 40 per cent more. Finally, with food inflation at 19 per cent, the government has stepped in to say rising prices are a “cause for concern”.

The funny thing is, while household greengrocery budgets are ballooning, the farmer says he isn’t getting higher returns for produce. So where’s the money from vegetable sales really going? Outlook travelled to farms in western Uttar Pradesh, 60-80 km from Delhi, and followed the food trail from farm to fork. It was an instructive journey.

From Farm To...

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