The popular adage 'When Life gives you all the lemons' seems proving true here when the poor man in the State stands squeezed by the prices of these humble juicy fruits that have skyrocketed in the hot month of April.
As per the market reports received, retail prices of lemons have nearly doubled in Odisha markets during the first week of the current month. But this seems a smokescreen when seen through.
A look at the APMC data available with the State government drops a big hint. The wholesale prices of lemons in Odisha have fallen by a massive 24 percent in the first week of April vis-a-vis the prices that prevailed in the month of March. The data, however, shows that wholesale prices of the fruit had been up by only 2.35 percent in April this year compared to April 2021.
The price chart reveals that in April 2021, the wholesale prices of lemons had been Rs 2,931.03 per quintal. The prices on Thursday have been quoted at Rs 3000 per quintal. In March 2022, however, the prices of the sour fruit were higher at Rs 3,970 per quintal.
Similarly, a glance at the market arrivals of lemons between April 8, 2021, and April 8, 2022, tells a bigger tale. State-level APMC Data shows market arrivals during the period April 2021-22 stood at 11.96 tonnes as against 10.13 tonnes in the period of April 2020-21. The arrivals this year compared to the previous year measures 18 percent more arrivals of the fruit to the State.
The above data shows there has been neither a drastic rise in wholesale prices in April nor a big drop in arrivals to the markets across the State.
The inflated cost of the citrus fruit at the retail level, therefore, hints at hoarding act by some traders to drive up the prices, especially when the fruit has a high demand in the summer months.
Odisha Not Number In 1 Lemon
Even as the State Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo claimed in the State Assembly recently that Odisha is the top producer of lemon in the country, the data indicates otherwise. The State has been the 6 largest producer of lemons in the country for the last four consecutive years
Take a glance at the table below for the last 4 years given below. The data is sourced from National Horticulture Board.
The Key Takeaway
The above production data show a marginal fall in lemon production in the country. In Odisha, the production has been static. Therefore, the rise in prices of this citrus fruit defies the market logic of supply-demand mismatch. It seems the trades try to rake oranges from lemons citing all and sundry reasons, including soaring fuel prices.