Prices take a hit as fruit supply, quality go down in Pune

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Rain in Nagpur region has had an adverse effect on the quality of fruits. (File Photo)

(Written by Tiyashi Datta)

QUALITY CONCERNS continue to haunt the fruit market in Pune as prices continue to remain low for almost all seasonal produce. Traders said the unseasonal rain earlier has hit supply as well as quality of fruits like pomegranate and strawberry.

Supply is a main concern for pomegranate, which has kept prices in check. The fruit’s price has come down to Rs 100 to Rs 120 per kg from Rs 200 to Rs 250 per kg a month ago for the best quality.

Santosh Naik, a fruit vendor operating out of Bhandarkar Road, said quality produce was rare and far in between. “When I get good quality product, I sell it for Rs 200 per kg but it is rare,” he said.

According to Rohan Ursal, a commission agent in Pune’s wholesale market, incessant rain in the Nagpur region has had an adverse effect on the quality of oranges and pomegranate. Usually, the season for oranges for the Nagpur region lasts till mid-January but this time, the farmers are expecting it to end by December.

“The quick wrap up is due to quality issues that have cropped up due to excess rain. Fruits are infected and are falling down from trees,” he said.

The sale of oranges has also decreased as compared to last year. “We are selling it at a price of Rs 60 to Rs 70 per kg, depending on the quality,” said Azaruddin Sheikh, a fruit vendor from Senapati Bapat Road.

Other fruits such as strawberries, figs and custard apples have also taken a hit. As strawberry farmers are now taking care of fruiting and flowering, they are unsure about the quality of the yield.

“Our strawberries usually go to Goa, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore but since the quality has gone down, local markets are our only hope this time,” said Balasaheb Bhilare, head of the Strawberry Growers Association of Maharashtra.

Fruit-falling and decaying have become major issues for farmers. The NMK variety or the golden variety of custard apples, which come from the Solapur and Ahmednagar regions, is selling for Rs 100 Rs 120 per kg. Figs are being sold for just Rs 40 to Rs 50 per kg.