Capsicum set to pinch your pocket this monsoonJuly 4th, 2011 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS
Solan (Himachal Pradesh), July 4 (IANS) Capsicum is set to cost more this season. Heavy rains have destroyed at least 30 percent of the crop in Himachal Pradesh, pushing up prices in many cities across India.
“More than 30 percent of the crop in the state was damaged in excess rainfall and less sunny conditions in June,” Director for Agriculture J.C. Rana told IANS.
He said the harvesting of the crop that has just begun would continue till November.
Himachal Pradesh is a major capsicum-producing state of the region with the bulk of the crop finding its market in Chandigarh, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.
It is grown in about 1,200 hectares mainly in Solan, Shimla and Sirmaur districts. The state annually produces 100,000 tonnes of the crop.
Bhupinder Mehta, a wholesale vegetable seller here, said there is a massive decline in the arrival of capsicum in the markets.
“These days we are daily getting two to three tonnes of capsicum against the demand of six tonnes. This year, the crop was badly hit by some disease,” he said.
Sellers here said capsicum prices would shoot up due to low supply.
The wholesale price of super quality capsicum was Rs.20 a kg Sunday and would further increase to Rs.30-35 in the coming days, Mehta said. Last year, the wholesale price was Rs.10 to Rs.12 a kg during this period.
In Chandigarh and Delhi retail markets good quality capsicum is selling at Rs.50-60 a kg now .
Rana said the maximum damage to the crop was witnessed in the prominent capsicum belt of Kandaghat in Solan district.
“Most of the crop in Kandaghat has been hit by fungus disease alternaria blight due to high humidity, cloudy conditions and water stagnation in the fields,” he added.
Brahmi Devi, a vegetable grower in Kandaghat, said the damage to the crop was more than 50 percent.
“Some of the areas located along the banks of water channels have been severely affected by water logging. The damage could be up to 60 percent,” she added.
The excessive rains also took a toll on other crops like cabbage, tomatoes and beans, said Mohan Verma, another vegetable grower.
Rana, however, said the capsicum grown in the polyhouses is not affected by the fungus disease. Polyhouse is a protective shade made of polythene and is used where high-value agricultural products are grown.
According to the meteorological office in Shimla, the state received 140.8 mm of rain against the average of 94 mm in June — about 50 percent surplus.
“Sirmaur district alone saw 166 percent more rainfall than the average, while Shimla and Solan districts saw 21 and 29 percent respectively more than the average,” Met Director Manmohan Singh said.
Himachal Pradesh annually earns more than Rs.25 billion (Rs.2,500 crore) from the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
The government is promoting the cultivation of exotic vegetables and flowers in polyhouses that will add to the prosperity of the growers.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at email@example.com)
–Indo-Asian News Agencies
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Tags: blight, capsicum, chandigarh, cloudy conditions, fungus disease, heavy rains, high humidity, himachal pradesh, massive decline, maximum damage, mehta, retail markets, rs 50, shimla, stagnation, sunny conditions, vegetable grower, vegetable seller, water channels, wholesale price