Life offers you expensive lemons

Bangalore Business

Dwindling supplies and soaring demand has pushed the prices of lemons high.

Laxmi owns a lemon soda cart at Church Street. For the past few days, she has been incurring losses because her business is running slow.

She pays a parking rent of Rs. 500 a day. After that, she is left with no savings. The reason is the rise in lemon prices. She sells a glass of lemon soda for Rs. 30 but lemons cost her Rs. 15 per piece. The refreshing lemon sodas in the summer might cost Bengalureans a fortune now.

With soaring lemon prices in Bengaluru, customers are paying up to Rs. 15 for a piece.

Sudarshana K., a customer said, “They are charging up to Rs. eight for the small lemons and up to Rs. 15 for the big ones.”

The wholesale price has risen drastically with the rise in temperature in the city. Imtiaz, merchant and vegetable commission agent at K R Market said that an entire sack of lemons which has around 800 lemons cost around Rs. 5000 to them. The rotten ones are being sold for around Rs. five a piece. “The prices are expected to be rising until the arrival of the rainy season,” he added.

Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of lemon followed by Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Imtiaz said, “All the lemons in K.R. Market arrive from Bijapur and Andhra Pradesh. Since last week, the arrival has decreased significantly.”

The rise in prices is expected to continue for the next two months.

Vishal Sahoo, an agriculturist said such hikes depend on seasons. He said that this might be due to the increased fuel prices because lemons are usually exported from Andhra Pradesh.

He added that this is also a simple formula of demand and supply. Lemon is mostly demanded during summers so such a hike is natural.

“The factors responsible for price hike in lemons have been adding up in last 4-5 weeks. This year India has comparatively seen crunched supply/production of lemon and citrus fruits (especially due to low yield in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh), while early summer especially in northern India have led to shock in demand of lemons,” said Abhishek Patil, an economist.

Immediate supply and demand has lead to spiked prices, which may be flattened in next few weeks, as demand flattens a bit and new produce is brought to markets but average lemon prices will be higher than usual for this year until June-July, Patil further said.

While other fruits and vegetables have seen 10-30 % price hikes, mainly due to higher fuel/transport costs, but not severe as lemon, he added.