Low output triggers price hike of vegetables in Kathmandu

Published On: October 30, 2017 08:00 AM NPT By: Kushal Basnet.

KATHMANDU, Oct 29: Prices of vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, etc have increased in the past few weeks, according to a retail price analysis of Kalimati market by Republica.

The price record of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board (KFVMDB) shows that the price of small tomatoes has spiked by Rs 40 per kilogram over the past four weeks. The vegetable that cost Rs 55 per kilogram on Oct 1 was priced at Rs 95 per kilogram on Sunday. 

Likewise, the price of dry onions surged to Rs 75 per kilogram from Rs 55 in the past four weeks while the price of red potatoes has increased from Rs 45 per kilogram to Rs 55. The other vegetables that saw major price changes were black-eyed beans (bodi) and cabbage, according to KFVMDB.

The price of black eye beans (bodi) saw a rise from Rs 85 to Rs 125 per kilogram, and the price of cabbage increased from Rs 55 to Rs 75. Officials of KFVMDB have attributed decrease in vegetable outputs in the country and rise in imports of vegetables such as potatoes and onions for the price hike. They said that the price of onions has increased in India too, however, they did not provide the percentage increment there.

“Low production of vegetables in the country is the main reason for the increase in price,” said-Binaya Shrestha, deputy director of KFVMDB. “Production in the first quarter of the current fiscal year is low because of the damage to vegetable farms by floods and landslides in August. Besides, the prime season of vegetable farming has not yet started.” 

“Vegetables like potatoes and onions are imported largely from India since their domestic production is very low. In the past few weeks, the supply of potatoes from India has decreased, which has resulted in the price hike. Onions are dearer due to price hike in India,” added Shrestha: “The price has been fluctuating as coordination between supply and demand of Nepali vegetable market is lacking.”

Bhairam Akaulia, a wholesaler in Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, said: “The depression in production of vegetables in Dhading and Bhaktapur has reduced supply in Kathmandu. People in these districts are gradually abandoning vegetable farming due to urbanization. The costs are high due to limited supply.” 

Another wholesaler in the market, Gopal Shrestha, added: “Import from India in large quantities has made vegetables dearer here.” 

Talking to Republica, Jenisha Gautam, a retailer in the market, said: “The prices may also have been manipulated by the middlemen. The most affected in the supply chain due to price fluctuation are the retailers. Concerned authorities should pay attention to smooth supply of goods, and prices should be monitored.”

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