Retailers incur losses as wholesalers are unable to transport vegetable, flower stocks

VISAKHAPATNAM: The ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes by the central government has forced retail vegetable and flower traders in the city to sell whatever produce they have for half the market price even as Karthika Masam celebrations are at its peak.

The reason: wholesalers are unable to employ labourers and arrange for transportation to bring in their stock to the Rythu Bazaar.

This is the time when traders eye profits by selling their commodities for at least 20 per cent more than the existing market rate. But, it is a different story this time as most of the currency notes they have are out of circulation. Vegetables such as carrots and capsicum that are usually brought in from either Kadiam near Rajahmundry or Kolkata in West Bengal are being sold for a price 40 per cent less than the actual market rate. While capsicum is selling for Rs 22 per kg, carrots are fetching only Rs 20 per kg.

"Most of the farmers have not turned up at the Rythu Bazaars to sell their produce as they are finding it difficult to arrange for transport. Traders and farmers who have exchanged their old notes for the new Rs 2,000 currency notes are finding it difficult to get the requisite change and smaller denomination notes in the market. This is also hindering the employment of labourers," said K Appanna, a commission agent and wholesaler at Anandapuram market.
"Most of the stocks from Anandapuram market lands up at MVP Rythu Bazaar and Seethamadhara Rythu Bazaar," he added.

With wholesalers giving the markets a miss, local vendors at MVP Rythu Bazaar pointed out that the vegetables which usually comes from Karnataka are no longer available. They further said vegetables that are generally brought in from the agency and other hinter land areas of north coastal AP as well as the delta areas of Godavari basin are not being transported and marketed on time.
P Surya Rao, a wholesaler from Rajahmundry, said, "I usually transport about 20 tonne of vegetables and 2 tonne of marigold to the markets in Vizag. But now, I am not able to do so as the money I have is no longer valid exchange. I can neither pay the farmers nor the agents, transporters and labourers. Much of the stock that I accumulated has already begun to rot."

KC Patro, a wholesaler from Salur in Vizianagaram district, said, "Stocks from Kolkata have stopped coming. Though the railways allow the people to transport their stock, just moving the stock from farm to godown and then to the railway station and later to the local markets involves a lot of money. This is proving to be a major problem."