India. Andhra rice price soars following shortage

Price of Jaya brand has gone up from ₹32 a kg last month to ₹42
The southern districts in the State may soon face shortage of the Andhra Pradesh Jaya brand, known as Andhra rice. The price of the popular brand, which was ₹32 a kg last month, has touched ₹42 a kg in the retail markets.
Crop failure of this paddy variety has been blamed for the shortage and the next crop is due for harvest only in April.
The commodity mainly arrives from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana though Tamil Nadu and Karnataka partly meet the demand.
The crop has failed in the latter two states too following drought. This could compel merchants in the southern districts to depend on rice varieties from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, which are not popular among consumers.
Varieties from Uttar Pradesh sell around ₹32 a kg and that from Punjab ₹33 a kg in the retail markets. Andhra rice, which was earlier used only in Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and parts of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts, is now gaining popularity in Ernakulam and Thrissur too.
Rice merchants here said on average three trains carrying 30,000 sacks of Andhra Pradesh rice used to reach Kollam a week. “Now, only two trains have come in the past two weeks.”
Retail merchants, who source rice from wholesalers, said since the past two or three days they were unable to get the required quantity. Wholesalers said they had to meet the demand of their clients and there was a shortage of stock.
There is also uncertainty over the stock position of the Jaya variety rice in Andhra Pradesh. There are concerns that the rice variety may go out of stock in the wholesale market if a train carrying the commodity fails to arrive this week.
Dealers said the situation was critical. Such a shortage of Andhra rice in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram was witnessed last in April 2008, the wholesalers said.

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