Wholesale traders opt not to buy perishable fruits to cut losses

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For the past two days, traders at wholesale markets here have not been buying some perishables like grapes, oranges, pomegranate and radish from farmers, fearing losses due to a slowdown in trade after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
Traders at Azadpur and Gazipur wholesale markets said most of the fruits and vegetables bought from farmers are lying unsold as retailers are finding it difficult to buy them due to paucity of new currency notes. In addition, they do not have enough cash to make payments to farmers.
Raj Kumar Bhatia, General Secretary, Chamber of Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable Traders, said they decided to stop buying some perishable products on Wednesday.
He said the business has dipped by at least 40 per cent since the November 8 announcement on the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
“There is reduction in trade activity. So our business has gone down 40-50 per cent. We are buying less of agricultural produce. In order to prevent further losses, all traders have unanimously decided not to purchase some perishable products which are not in much demand,” Bhatia told IANS.
Mahinder Kumar, another trader at Azadpur Mandi, said they would stop purchasing fruits such as grapes, pomegranate, oranges and vegetables such as radish. “For one, there is shortage of cash and, second, these fruits have less demand,” he said.
Traders at Gazipur market have also reduced their purchases but are quietly accepting some old currency notes to keep their businesses going.
Mohammad Abbas, a trader of flowers, said: “We are suffering huge losses after the demonetisation as neither farmers nor customers are ready to accept old notes. We have no option but to accept old notes on many occasions to ensure our business is not totally shut.”
The demonetisation has hurt horticulturists as well, as flowers such as marigold are being sold to traders for as low as Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kg, as against Rs 25 to Rs 30 per kg earlier.
Bunty Sharma, a flower trader, said: “Since flowers are perishable goods, farmers have no option but to bring their produce here almost every day and sell it at a nominal price.”
The situation is the same with vegetables. Traders claimed that supply of vegetables has gone down 40-50 per cent due to reduction in demand and inconvenience in trading because of the paucity of currency notes.
However, if the prices at the retail end have not spiralled, it is because the small retailer faces much the same problem that a trader faces — the lack of valid currency notes.
Asif Qureshi, a vegetable trader, said: “We sold cauliflower for just Rs 3 per kg today as retailers have stopped buying vegetables. Even prices of potatoes have gone down by up to 40 per cent.”
Figures provided by officials of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) at the Gazipur market buttress the remarks of local traders.
They said that a day before the demonetisation announcement, lady’s finger (Bhindi) was being sold by traders to retailers for Rs 22 per kg, while its price was down to Rs 18 per kg on Wednesday.
Similarly, prices of cabbage and cauliflower came down to Rs 7 and Rs 8 on Wednesday from Rs 10 and Rs 12 on November 7, they added.

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