Garlic prices surge sharply: How long will it be a burden on household budgets?

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Over the past few weeks, prices of garlic have increased phenomenally to 300/ 400 per kg. As of now, the essential spice of the kitchen household is being sold at the rate of 150/250 per kg in the wholesale market whereas it remains between 300 and 400 per kg in the retail market.

The rise in price of the kharif crop, due to the delay in harvesting season is likely to persist for some more time. Amid already inflated prices of pulses, garlic prices have added to the woes of households forcing them to eliminate the spice from their food to manage their budget.

Harvest of the crop was impacted by unseasonal rainfall and depleting soil quality in key producer states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. With the adverse impact of the factors on garlic supply, it is obvious that the price is likely to increase due to large gap between supply and demand.

How long garlic prices will remain high?

There are very less chances for the pungent bulb to reduce in any immediate time. According to traders, retail prices are likely to remain around 250-350/kg till the end of January, reported Hindustan Times. Garlic prices are likely to improve only after the arrival of the new crop in the market. “Rates are likely to come down from current levels in January but garlic prices could remain elevated till March,” Prakash Tomar a trader in Madhya Pradesh told HT.

Slow progress of the monsoon led to a delay in the harvest

The prime reason behind the steady rise in garlic price is the failure of one crop of garlic and consecutive delays in the harvest of another crop. Garlic is produced in two seasons, ie kharif and rabi. The Kharif crop is produced by farmers in Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. The second phase of garlic crop plantation takes place in Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, and West Bengal.

This year, garlic plantation was delayed in Madhya Pradesh, one of the biggest producers of the crop in the country. Hence, the Kharif crop started coming to the market at the end of November. The supply of garlic will become normal in the market by the end of January next year.

Apart from delayed monsoon and low harvest, depleting groundwater in two major states has accentuated the menace of delayed harvest due to the slow progress of monsoon.

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