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Here’s Why A Non Veg Thali Has Become Cheaper Than A Veg One

Post the Covid-19 pandemic, vegetable prices have put household budgets on fire. There are several reasons responsible for affecting the vegetable market, specifically ranging from uneven weather patterns in the past five months to the veggie prices missing the seasonal decline in winter months. 

Has this high price been pinching your pockets as well? Here’s why:

If Food Inflation Isn’t New, Why Are We Feeling The Pinch This Time? 

The approaching global recession can be felt by all. Incomes have not been rising. Rural wages are being contracted for the 16th straight month up to March, according to reports by The Financial Express, in July 2023. 

The impact of inflation in India has been exacerbated because of stagnant wages coupled with increasing living costs. Citing data from the National Statistical Office in July 2023, The Hindu reported that for the first time in 18 years, food costs crossed 40% of monthly spending in 2017-2018, for urban households in Maharashtra. The condition is worse for the poorest.

Another reason causing the sudden pinch in consumers’ pockets is the rise in unemployment rates, primarily driven by seasonal joblessness in rural areas.

Also Read: Are Women Paying More Than Men For Similar Products?

Unlikely Food Inflation:

The overall inflation in the food sector is at an all-time high, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation at around 4.8%. Inflation measured by the CPI is defined as the change in prices of the basket of goods and services mainly purchased by households. 

This steep rise in prices is because of skyrocketing in basic and necessary vegetable prices such as tomatoes, potatoes and onions. 

CRISIL (Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited) in its latest report on ‘Roti Rice Plate’, a monthly indicator of food prices, has reported that on-year, the cost of a representative home-cooked veg thali rose 8% in April, while that of a non-veg thali declined 4%. This is also because of the declining broiler prices. 

Climate Change:

Climate change is real. It is not a concept that we read about in books or newspapers, under the impression that it will not affect us. It’s a genuine global phenomenon that affects us all, although disproportionately. 

A major example of this fact is the soaring prices of vegetables and other food items. The rising inflation is taking a toll on Indians, particularly in rural areas, owing to several factors such as stagnant incomes and increasing living costs.

Our estimate is that CPI inflation will be at 5 per cent in April, slightly higher than the average consensus of 4.8 per cent. Food inflation is quite high compared to last year and vegetable prices are higher. Since the last quarter, food inflation has been averaging at 8.5 per cent. That’s a concern and I don’t think summer concerns will help in that. Typically, dry heat impacts vegetable output,” said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Economist and Head of Research, Acuité Ratings & Research (a rating agency accredited by the Reserve Bank of India). 

Food inflation is not something new, but we are feeling that pinch this time. It all started with the skyrocketing prices of tomatoes, and now this infection has spread to other vegetables also. 

Very surprisingly, tomatoes had become more expensive than petrol last year, with prices of tomatoes reaching Rs 250 per kg in August while a litre of petrol costing Rs 97 in Delhi. 

When there is a gap between demand and supply of food, prices rise. The unprecedented heat waves in most states of the countries destroyed several crops. Heat waves are very harmful as they lead to wilting, stunting or early ripening of crops, thus leading to lower production and higher prices.

Moreover, unseasonal rainfall destroyed 18 kinds of standing crops, from chickpeas to wheat and maize, to cashews and mangoes. CNBC TV-18, an Indian pay television business and financial news channel, reports that after the heavy unseasonal rainfall, monsoons were delayed and Kharif crops like tomatoes, eggplant, beans and bottle gourd took a hit.  

This is the direct effect climate change has on us, and we are the ones responsible for this negative change. How?, A study by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research found that electric irons consume massive amounts of power that is generated by burning fossil fuels. Ironing clothes for a family of five releases a kilogram of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Thus, in light of this, the organisation has started a campaign, urging its employees to wear wrinkled clothes once a week. 

Vegetable prices are likely to remain high due to above-average temperatures and erratic weather conditions. This underscores the susceptibility of vegetable prices to environmental conditions. Despite efforts to tackle the issue, the perishable nature of vegetables hampers the effectiveness of these measures.

Therefore, we must do our part and do whatever we can to solve the ongoing climate crisis, as it affects us in a lot of ways, soaring veggie prices being one of them.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: The Wire, Business Today, The Times of India 

Find the blogger: Unusha Ahmad

This post is tagged under: veg, vegetable, inflation, non-veg, thali, price hike, consumers, India, advisor, budget 

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, or copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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