KATHMANDU, Sept 24: The price of vegetables has shot up by as much as 70% over the past month.
A snap survey of wholesale prices published by Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board shows price of most of the popular vegetables have gone up over the period.
The price of red potato for example climbed up to Rs 61 per kg on Monday from Rs 41 per kg record a month ago. Similarly, onion price increased to Rs 99 per kg, up from Rs 56 per kg recorded on August 23. While the price of cauliflower climbed up to Rs 98 per kg on Sunday compared to Rs 72 per kg a month ago, local cabbage also saw a price rise of Rs 15 per kg during the period. Local cabbage was sold at Rs 48 per kg on Monday.
Officials of the board attributed the rise in prices of vegetables to short supply in the market. “Low domestic production cannot meet rising demand in the market. As price of imported vegetables keep fluctuating, it is reflected in the domestic market,” Binaya Shrestha, a deputy director at the board, told Republica. He also said the ongoing Sohra Sraddha ritual is the other reason behind rising vegetable prices. “As majority of Hindus do not consume meat during this 16-day ritual, demand for vegetables grow. This has also affected the price of vegetables in the market.”
The price of vegetables often increases ahead of the major festive season.
“Heavy monsoon rain in June-July affected production of some vegetables. It led to short supply, causing prices to shoot up,” Shrestha added.
Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market – the largest vegetables market in the country – supplies 800-830 tons of vegetables in the Kathmandu Valley.
“The price of onion has increased sharply because its price has increased in India – the major source country,” Shrestha told Republica.
The rising vegetables prices is putting more strain on consumer wallets. Sharmila Thapa, who buys vegetables regularly at the Kalimati market, says that the price of vegetables has been rising rapidly in recent days. “Vegetables prices are going through the roof. But we have no option but to pay whatever price the traders quote,” said Thapa.
Meanwhile, consumer rights activists have criticized the government for its failure to control arbitrary price hike in the market. “The government seems to be non-existent,” Jyoti Baniya, chairman of the Consumer Rights Protection Forum, said. “Though people are bearing the brunt of artificial price hike, the government is doing nothing to control such anomalies.”