October 13, 2019 09:57 AM NPT
By: GANESH BISHU
BIRENDRANAGAR, Oct 13: Sita Neupane of Birendranagar-6 went to the market on Thursday to buy vegetables. She was taken aback upon hearing the prices of vegetables, and was able to buy far less than she had planned.
Sita is among the many householders in Birendranagar whose kitchens see fewer vegetables these days.
"The price of vegetables has increased exorbitantly," she said.
The prices of tomato and onion that are imported from India have increased by about 80 percent each. In early September, price of onion was Rs 55 per kilogram. Three weeks later on October 2, the price went up to Rs 105. Currently, it is selling for as much as Rs 130 per kilogram. Likewise, the wholesale price of tomato was Rs 48 per kilogram, which has now gone up to Rs 75. The retail price is at least Rs 80.
Prices of vegetables have increased not only in Birendranagar but in the entire Karnali Province. The province is mostly dependent on vegetables imported from India. Apart from onion and tomato, the province imports potato, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, brinjal, beans, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, black eye beans, okra, snake gourd, carrot, banana, pomegranate, lemon, cucumber, ginger, green chilies, bell peppers, and garlic price. Each of these vegetables have seen staggering rise of price.
Meanwhile, apple produced in Jumla has seen only nominal increase in price.
According to Kesar Raskoti, an official at Agriculture Market Management Committee Surkhet, the province is entirely dependent on Indian onions. About 1,240 metric tons of tomato was imported from India for Karnali after July.
According to Chhavi Lal Poudel, an agricultural expert, the government has not been able to introduce good policy for farmers. "Vegetables are directly connected with citizen's health, and it is a very sensitive matter," he said, "It is a shame that despite high potential, Karnali is importing vegetables from India."