1. Commodity News

Rice, Pulses, Edible Oil Price Starts Rising due to Shortage of Labour & Packaging Material amid Lockdown

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

Although, there is sufficient supply, prices of essential food items like pulses, rice & cooking oil have started rising due to increased demand. However, scarcity of packaging material is a worry and storage restrictions under the Essential Commodities Act may backfire, said traders.

As per a report in the Economic Times, in few cities, biscuits and bread are in short supply due to non-availability of yeast, an essential ingredient for making bread. The ET report quoted Angshu Mallick, chief operating officer of Adani Wilmar as saying, “Prices of rice, which is being used for community kitchen, are seeing an upswing as the demand is huge.”

As per the traders, price of rice has risen up to 20% due to fears of scarcity & the customer’s focus on availability. Hence, so nobody is questioning increased rates.

In Kolkata, price of common rice has been raised at Rs 32 per kg from Rs 27 earlier. The publication quoted CEO of Tirupati Agri, Suraj Agarwal, as saying that most rice mills in the state had shut down, and transportation was difficult & costly.

Senior VP at Federation of Association of Maharashtra & largest dealer of Kohinoor Basmati rice, Rajesh Shah, denied any increase in rice price & said there was adequate supply.

However, in some places, edible oil prices have also increased. BV Mehta, head of industry body Solvent Extractors Association of India, said the business daily that supply is adequate but there was a shortage of packaging material & labour. He added, “Another issue that might lead to disturbance in supplies is that after implementation of the lockdown, edible oil has come under the purview of the Essential Commodities Act.”

“As a result, the depots of manufacturers, located in other states or places away from factory premises, are treated as wholesale depots and thus come under storage control restrictions,” he said.

Prices of pulses have been raised from 20 percent to 30 percent, traders said. Anjan Gupta, owner of Surbhi Traders in Kolkata’s biggest wholesale market Posta market, said the publication that wholesale price of masoor dal has increased to Rs 70 per kg from Rs 54 per kg before the lockdown.


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