Lime prices up 41 percent on high demand, low supply

Published On: May 27, 2019 04:30 AM NPT By: Zenith Shah

KATHMANDU, May 27: Price of limes has gone up significantly in the market over the last two months, and continues to skyrocket, owing to a similar price hike in India.

According to Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board that manages Kalimati Wholesale Market, lime prices have increased to Rs 340 per kg as per Sunday's rate, up from Rs 240 per kg two months ago. Price of lime averaged Rs 225 per kg in May last year.

Traders say price of this citrus fruit increased owing to rise in prices of fruits in India, where reportedly the hike has been a result of a “severe rise in mercury”, according to Indian media. High demand for limes in India has pushed the price to higher level due to severe heat increase in Indian states, according to Times of India daily

“Rising prices in India and declining supply in the local market have pushed up the price of the much-valued fruit,” said Binay Shrestha, a director at the board.

Lime has continued to be a major part of diet in majority of our country: for delicacies and health reasons; and the soaring price compromises the ability of the consumers to enjoy this citrus fruit. Moreover, because pricing remains unchecked, local vendors continue to fleece consumers by charging arbitrarily.

India stands as the largest supplier of limes, among other fruits and vegetables, in the domestic market, according to Shrestha.

“About 99 percent of limes in the Kalimati market come from India alone”, he continued, “Domestic production is negligible."

Despite being an agricultural country, Nepal is struggling to suffice its own population with local productions and is importing agro-products worth billions of rupees annually. The country imported fruits amounting over Rs 4.67 billion from India alone over the past 10 months.

Prices of some other popular fruits like apple, pomegranates and grapes, have also increased over the period. While prices of apple and grapes have increased to Rs 190 and Rs 210 from Rs 135 and Rs 125 per kg, respectively, the price of pomegranate has gone up to Rs 190 from Rs 145 per kg two months ago.

The news of hike in fruit prices comes about six months after announcement of the collaboration between Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and the National Center for Fruits Development to promote commercial farming of lime, among other fruits. Though the government has allocated Rs 160 million for the project, it is not clear yet when it will deliver results.

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