Export of Nepali tomato to India on the rise amid low vegetable production in Uttar Pradesh

Published On: July 22, 2023 10:00 AM NPT By: Upendra Yadav

BARA, July 22: Following a significant decrease in vegetable production due to heavy rains in India's Uttar Pradesh last week, Nepali tomato exports are  experiencing a surge in demand and finding a robust market in the neighboring country. This surge is attributed to the seamless customs process that allows Nepalese vegetable producers to send their goods to the Indian market without any hindrance.

Indian consumers have increasingly favored Nepali tomatoes as an alternative to their locally scarce produce. The increased demand has also led to a boost in income for cart businessmen in Birgunj, Nepal. These cart businessmen have reported earning up to Rs 800 per hour for transporting tomatoes, making it a profitable venture as tomato prices in Nepal are considerably lower than in India.

Mohammad Musa, one of the cart owners, shared that transporting 25 carats of tomatoes from Birganj Customs to Raxaul Koiriya Tola in India earns him Rs 800. He explained that traders purchase tomatoes from various regions within Nepal, load them onto trucks and pick-up vans, and then transport them to Birgunj. From there, the tomatoes are transferred to carts and taken to India.

The volume of tomato transportation to Raxaul from Nepal is substantial, creating employment opportunities for more than a dozen workers. Anil Barnawal, a tomato trader, highlighted the paperwork completion process at Birgunj customs office, where a fee of Rs 500 is required for each cart of tomatoes delivered to India.

Tomato traders emphasized the significant price disparity after crossing the border. While tomatoes can be purchased in Nepal for around Rs 40 per kilogram, they are being sold for up to INR 150 per kilogram in India's rural areas and INR 200 in urban areas. This price variation benefits the traders but poses a challenge for the common people in India.

Ramesh Prasad, a customer at the Raxaul vegetable market, shared that traders importing tomatoes from Nepal prefer to send their goods to Patna, the capital of Bihar state, to maximize profits. This increased demand has led local consumers in and around Raxaul to flock to the border market to purchase tomatoes.

Dillaram Panthi, the chief administrator of the Birgunj customs office, clarified that there are no customs duties imposed on tomato exports to India from Birgunj. Only a fee charged by the trading firm is applicable for such exports.


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