Food Inflation: Heatwave To Keep Prices Of Perishable Goods High

On Tuesday, June 18, 2024, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the effort to bring down food inflation has been a tricky and wobbly rope to cross because of the high prices for food in the country. Owing to this, people have been witnessing a rise in the prices of vegetables, fruits, and grains in the farmer’s market.

Even everyday vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and lemons are quite expensive. This has reportedly led to many households cutting on the use of these items to save bucks on groceries. Not only this, experts have been quoted on various media platforms saying that the heatwave will continue to keep the prices of perishable goods high in the upcoming months. 

Food Inflation 10-Month High In June 2024

According to reports, May 2024 witnessed a 10-month high in food inflation with the prices of items rising by an average of 9.82%. Prices of vegetables rose from 23.60% in April 2024 to 32.42% in May 2024. The price of onions and potatoes witnessed an increase of 58.05% and 64.05% respectively. 

According to a report published by Money Control, food inflation is expected to remain above 8% in 2024, however, the inflation percentage in the price of pulses is expected to be in double digits. In April 2024 the inflation of pulses stood at 16.8%, but in May, it was recorded at 17.1%.

Which Perishable Good Will Be Sold At High Prices?

Business Today reported on June 18, 2024, that ahead of Eid ul-Adha, the prices of potatoes, tomatoes, and onions skyrocketed. In the past two weeks, the price of onions has increased by 30-50%, depending on the city.

Local Circles, a community social media platform, reported that at least 16% of surveyed Indian households (27,000 responses across 316 Indian districts) were found to have reduced the consumption of onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. It also reported that 31% of the consumers will likely follow the same pattern once the price per kilogram surpasses the Rs 50 threshold. 

The price of arhar dal witnessed a jump of 33.7% in the wholesale market in June 2024 compared to June 2023. For the first fortnight of June 2024, it was sold for Rs 13,737.9 per quintal. Experts are predicting the inflation will continue courtesy of the heatwave in North India and the delayed monsoon. It is adversely affecting the health, effort for food deflation, and health conditions of Indian citizens. Because of the heat, the yield and shelf life of the produce is getting affected, hence, the supply of fruits and vegetables is low, making them more expensive.