This Diwali, Indians might have to compromise a little on the sweetness factor as the prices of almost every sweet and all dry fruits have rose to a never before level and the demand has also been soaring.
The dry fruit mithai and dry fruits will be a little heavy on pockets this year as their prices are being reported to be the highest this year.
The walnuts are costing Rs, 1,600 for the usual quality and Rs. 2,000 for the best quality.
Reporting straight from theMumbai’s Crawford Market, wholesaler of dry fruits and owner ofRoyal Foods and Namkeen, Virenbai, complains, “Dry fruits are expensive compared to last year. Almonds are available at Rs 730 a kilo which cost Rs 600 last year, cashew nuts at Rs 640 against Rs 550 and pistachios at Rs 850 against Rs 650.”
One of the factors that have added to the unusual price rise is the Political uncertainty in Jammu & Kashmir just ahead of elections.
Ashok Tewari, owner of Tewari Brothers, a 74-year-old company based in Kanpur says, “Almonds and walnuts are mainly procured from Kashmir and with the political uncertainty there, the availability is erratic and consequently, the prices have gone up.”
But he also adds that the high demand of dry fruits mithai has surprised him pleasantly. “I can’t fathom what the reason is for it though,” he comments.
Corporate gifting has also clearly avoided preferring dry fruits this year, owing to such high costs, the director of the 129-year-old Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick Sweets based in Kolkata, Sudeep Mullick. He says that most companies have preferred to gift mithai instead of dry fruits this year.
The sweets are however costing lesser in Kolkata than the rest of the country because there’s no tax on sweetmeats there. But despite the case being so, takers for dry fruits mithai have come down.
“The daily sales at the store of 8-10 tons of sohan papadi, 2-2.5 tons of ladoos and 1 ton of barfis have not seen a corresponding increase in sales of sweets made of dry fruits,” said, MD, Haldiram Bhujiawala Ltd, Jaikishen Baheti from Kolkata.
Similarly, GR Singh at Punjabi Ghasitaram Halwai Karachiwala, Mumbai says that the demand for dry fruits and mithai made from it has come down to 25 %. Another shop in Mumbai, American Dry Fruits store has also seen a 10 % drop in the same category of sweets.
Prices of sugar and oil:
Even though the prices of oil and sugar have come down, the prices of mithai continue to be higher than ever.
Many sweetmeat makers attribute this fact to the fact that since they prefer ghee to oil, the price of oil doesn’t really impact the prices of sweets.
“We use ghee, besan, mava, etc. in sweets. Have their prices come down?” asks Punjabi Ghasitaram Halwai Karachiwala’s GR Singh. “We use refined sugar and for us this drop in prices doesn’t matter at all,” says Tewari of Tewari Brothers.
One more factor that is not letting the prices come down is the high labour cost
“As long as the cost of labor does not come down, do not expect prices of sweets to drop,” Singh asserts.
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Tushita is a political writer at thenational.net. Her deep rooted interest in politics, passion for writing and craze for travelling define her. Writing since her school days, she aspires to write lifelong and make the world a happier place to live with the power of her pen.