Vegetable outlets by govt. agencies draw good response

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A vegetable and fruit stall opened by the Department of Agriculture at Puthenkurisu.

Stalls will remain open till Tuesday

The temporary vegetable and fruit stalls opened by government and quasi governmental agencies such as Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) have evoked good response with people eager to avail the 10% discount on items sold through such outlets even as the Onam market has remained largely cool despite shortage of some key vegetable items.

The State Department of Agriculture and Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation are agencies involved in opening the nearly 200 stalls across Ernakulam district in the run-up to Onam. The stalls, opened on Saturday, will remain open till Tuesday. The 188 outlets are part of the 2,000 stalls opened by a government initiative across the State.

About 34 vegetable and fruit items were being sold through most of the government department-run outlets and the response was positive, said an Agriculture Department official on Sunday. He said that Saturday had witnessed a much bigger crowd than on Sunday forenoon. However, the flow of customers had picked up towards the afternoon.

The official said there was severe shortage of locally-grown vegetable cowpea, resulting in price of the produce going up considerably in some parts of the district such as Puthenkurish.

However, there was sufficient supply of the vegetables in places such as Malayattoor, Koovappady and Puthevelikkara, said a VFPCK official.

The price of nendran bananas too is ruling high with farmers getting up to about ₹50 in the wholesale market. The items, locally purchased by the three agencies, sees 30% premium payment to farmers while the produce is sold at a discount of 10% to customers.

Ginger price has also gone up, considering the vast areas under the crop that went under floods during the month of August and early September. The price of good quality ginger rules around Rs 115 a kg while vegetable ginger is being sold for around Rs 65 a kg in most outlets. A department official said ginger price was expected to move up considering that seedlings had cost around Rs 300 a kg early this year.

While major items for Onam such as drumsticks, cucumber, pumpkin, and bottle gourd are available in sufficient quantity across the district, there is area-specific shortage of bitter gourd. Vast areas under bitter gourd had been flooded in the district.

Most of the markets were dependent on supplies from neighbouring States, said Horticorp sources.

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