Vegetable prices jump in India as farmers go on strike

Two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people depend directly or indirectly on farming for their livelihood, but farm incomes only account for 14 percent of gross domestic product. (Reuters)
Updated 04 June 2018

Vegetable prices jump in India as farmers go on strike

  • Farmers began their 10-day protest on Friday to press demands such as farm loan waivers and higher prices for produce such as cereals, oilseeds and milk
  • Last year six farmers were killed in similar protests that became violent in the central state of Madhya Pradesh

MUMBAI: Vegetable prices jumped as much as 10 percent in major Indian cities, including Mumbai and Delhi, as a four-day old strike by millions of farmers curtailed supplies.
Farmers began their 10-day protest on Friday to press demands such as farm loan waivers and higher prices for produce such as cereals, oilseeds and milk.
“Wholesale prices of some vegetables like tomatoes and french beans have risen due to lower supplies,” said a Mumbai-based vegetable vendor Mahesh Gupta.
Outbreaks of rural discontent poses a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promised when he came to power in 2014 to double farm incomes in five years.
Farmers in eight states, mostly ruled by Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party, have restricted supplies of vegetable and milk to the cities’ markets.
“We are distributing milk and vegetables to the poor and needy, but we’ve decided not sell. The basic idea is to highlight the plight of farmers who have been overlooked by the government,” said Ramandeep Singh Mann, a farmer based in the northern state of Punjab.
Prices for many crops have fallen sharply, while the price of diesel has gone up, squeezing millions of India’s mostly small-scale farmers.
Last year six farmers were killed in similar protests that became violent in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
In recent days, farmers blocked highways in some places and poured milk onto roads. The protests have been peaceful so far, although organizers are planning to increase the intensity in coming days.
“The government hasn’t fulfilled promises it had given last year. We have no option but to intensify our protests,” said Ajit Nawale, state general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, one of the farmers’ union participating in the strike.
Two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people depend directly or indirectly on farming for their livelihood, but farm incomes only account for 14 percent of gross domestic product, reflecting a growing divide between the countryside and wealthier cities.
“I am stocking up vegetables for the entire week,” said Anjali Salunkhe, a housewife in Mumbai, fearing prices could double as they did during protests last year.


Japan’s capital sees prices fall most in over 8 years as COVID-19 pain persists

Updated 27 November 2020

Japan’s capital sees prices fall most in over 8 years as COVID-19 pain persists

  • Tokyo core CPI marks biggest annual drop since May 2012
  • Data suggests nationwide consumer prices to stay weak

TOKYO: Core consumer prices in Tokyo suffered their biggest annual drop in more than eight years, data showed on Friday, an indication the hit to consumption from the coronavirus crisis continued to heap deflationary pressure on the economy.
The data, which is considered a leading indicator of nationwide price trends, reinforces market expectations that inflation will remain distant from the Bank of Japan’s 2% target for the foreseeable future.
“Consumer prices will continue to hover on a weak note as any economic recovery will be moderate,” said Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, which expects nationwide core consumer prices to fall 0.5% in the fiscal year ending March 2021.
The core consumer price index (CPI) for Japan’s capital, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, fell 0.7% in November from a year earlier, government data showed, matching a median market forecast.
It followed a 0.5% drop in October and marked the biggest annual drop since May 2012, underscoring the challenge policymakers face in battling headwinds to growth from COVID-19.
The slump in fuel costs and the impact of a government campaign offering discounts to domestic travel weighed on Tokyo consumer prices, the data showed.
Japan’s economy expanded in July-September from a record post-war slump in the second quarter, when lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus cooled consumption and paralyzed business activity.
Analysts, however, expect any recovery to be modest with a resurgence in global and domestic infections clouding the outlook, keeping pressure on policymakers to maintain or even ramp up stimulus.