Vegetable and fruit prices soar as Hindus embark on month-long Purattasi fast
Durban - FROM cabbages to green beans, pumpkins, potatoes and more, vegetables will form part of the staple diet for Hindus during Pitri Paksha, which started on Wednesday, and the upcoming fasting month of Purattasi.
Pitri Paksha, when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors, especially through food offerings, will be observed until September 17.
Purattasi, a festival celebrating the Hindu deity Venkateswara, will be observed from September 17 to October 16.
With the demand for fresh vegetables over this time, consumers can expect to pay a few more rand at the till.
Informal traders said they have already noted an increase in prices of certain vegetables and fruits in the last week.
Duran Dharampal, who sells produce at the Millennium Market in Phoenix, said they had seen an increase in prices of potatoes and tomatoes.
“In the previous weeks we paid about R45 to R50 per 10kg pocket of potatoes, but that has shot up to between R67 and R70. The price of tomatoes has also gone up by R20.
“The price of cabbage, green beans and calabash also have gone up. From previous years’ observations, this normally does happen during the fasting period,” he said.
Joyce Pillay, who sells produce at the Fragrance Street market, said there had been a significant increase in the price of cabbages, green beans and brinjal.
“We would previously pay between R100 and R150 per 10kg of green beans, but that has now shot up to between R300 and R350. Also brinjal costs about R10 per kg, it has doubled,” said Pillay.
A Verulam fruit and vegetable seller, who declined to be named, said the cost of gadra (borlotti) beans had also increased.
“Last month I was paying R100 per 20kg, now it’s R160. I also paid R45 per kg of bhindi (okra), but it was previously R23. We have no choice but to pay these prices and add a small mark-up so we can stay afloat. We live day to day.”
Lallie Ganesan, who sells fruit in Merebank, said she had seen an increase in certain produce over the last week alone.
“At first, a box of bananas would cost me around R100, but it now costs R150. Another fruit that has become expensive is mandarins, which used to cost R50 a bag, but now range between R70 and R80.”
A farmer, who declined to be named, said it was not the farmers who increased the price during this time. He grows green beans, cabbages, brinjals and herbs.
“There is a middle-man who purchases the products from the farm, then will add his own costs when selling to the wholesalers or informal traders. There is always the assumption that we sell our vegetables at an increased price during this time of year, which is not the case. There are times when it depends on the supply and demand, which will see our prices increase or decrease,” he said.