Extreme weather and trawling ban cause soaring vegetable and fish prices in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram: The prices of vegetables and fish are soaring in Kerala, putting a significant dent in the monthly home budgets of the state's residents.

Vendors attribute the rising prices of vegetables to the extreme summer and untimely rains in Tamil Nadu, the major vegetable supplier to Kerala.

Fish prices are skyrocketing due to the shortage of landings caused by the 52-day annual trawling ban which came into effect from June 9.

"There is very little supply and the prices are very high. When the prices are high, people do not come to buy vegetables," Leela, a vegetable vendor in Palayam market in the state capital, told PTI.

She says she buys tomatoes for Rs 80 per kilogram from the wholesaler and has to sell them for at least Rs 100 to make a profit. "But if I demand Rs 25 for 250 grams, people refuse to buy." Drumsticks, one of the most preferred vegetables in Kerala curries, are sold at Rs 200 per kg, the longer string beans are sold for Rs 120 per kg and beans are sold at Rs 140 per kg.

"Ginger is priced at Rs 200 per kg, carrots are sold at Rs 120. Prices of all vegetables have gone up considerably," Sarasamma, another vegetable vendor, said.

She said that vegetables were not coming in, and whatever is available is sold at a very high price.

Fish prices are very high due to less availability following the trawling ban.

Sardines, which are considered the common man's fish and usually sold at Rs 100 and below, are now sold for Rs 300 to 400 per kg.

Fish sellers are relying on supplies of fish from places like Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu to meet the demand.

"The vegetable prices have been high for the last week. We get our supplies from both Bangalore and Tamil Nadu. But there is widespread crop loss due to untimely rains in Tamil Nadu, and it has affected the supply," Kumar, a vegetable wholesaler at Chala Market in Thiruvananthapuram, said.

He said that the vendors in Thiruvananthapuram are not increasing the prices but are only selling their products as per the demand from the suppliers from the neighboring states.

"The prices are very high, and we do not get all the vegetables that we need. The price rise is there for every item, and we cannot even think of buying fish. The middle class is struggling a lot," Anil Kumar, a retired employee, said.