Thali dearer

Putting a decent thali on the table is now twice as expensive. And what is worse, there is no sign of the prices going down
For those who have been hoping that the late monsoon will ease food prices, here is a dampener: the government believes that it will be a while before the prices of grains, pulses, sugar and oil ease up.
“Over the next three months the prices of grain especially tur, sugar and oil will stay high. But through the PDS network we will be selling palm oil at Rs30 per litre, sugar at Rs20 a kg and tur dal at Rs55 a kg,” says Anil Deshmukh, food and civil supply minister.
The prices of dal particularly have been highly volatile. Tur dal has been the worst hit: the superior Latur type now stands at Rs90-92 a kg and the cheaper variety at Rs82. Wholesale dealers say they are hoping that the prices will fall but they also add that if it happens it will only be a short-term decline.
“The market has been volatile with a daily rise and fall primarily in the tur dal category. We are hoping that prices will fall a bit, but if they do then by December-end they will shoot up again,” said Ajay Shah, runs a wholesale store.
Inflation-hit consumers have now started cutting down on consumption of tur dal and replacing it with moong and masur. Moong dal at Rs82-83 per kg is not cheap either because it is mainly imported. “Our main dal sources, China and Burma, are selling at high prices. The market for pulses is very bullish right now,” said Shah.
Experts believe that the government dragged its feet over importing foodstuffs when it saw early signs of shortage caused by the drought. “By the time the central government decided to import in August, the prices had already begun going up. The government should have started importing stock much earlier. It was clear by July that we were headed for a drought,” says Madan Sabhnavis, economist with the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange.
Traders and retailers plead helplessness. Tur dal is the staple in most Gujarati and Mahrashtrian homes and families have drastically reduced their purchases to stabilise their budgets.
“Consumers who once bought two kg a month are now making do with 500gm. We are incurring a loss too. We also cannot stock more and pre-empt the price rise because the government will not tolerate that,” said Sampada Mukadam, proprietor of a grocery store.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.