No respite for vegetable consumers even after festival season is over
KATHMANDU, Nov 9: Even after the end of the festive season, the price of vegetables, instead of subsiding, continues to rise.
Though consumers were expecting the skyrocketing vegetable prices to go down after major festivals of Dashain, Tihar and Chhath, there has not been any correction in the price yet.
Subdued demand after the festivals and surge in the supply of winter vegetable crops in the market was expected to bring down prices. Curiously, prices continue to increase rather than fall, which traders and officials blame on short supply of vegetables in the market.
“Of course, vegetable prices should have started to decline by now. But the winter crops that should have come to the market have not arrived yet,” said Binaya Shrestha, deputy director of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board.
“The supply of monsoon crops has stopped now whereas the winter crops have not arrived. And the demand for vegetables is high. This gap between supply and demand has driven up prices of most of the vegetables,” he added.
According to Shrestha, delay in plantation due to excessive rains has also delayed the harvest, causing scarcity of vegetables along with whooping prices.
A snap survey of retail prices published by the Kalimati board shows that the price of most of the vegetables has surged even after the festive season.
The price of big Nepali tomato jumped by 11 percent to Rs 105 on November 8 from an average price Rs 95 (between October 22 and November 8).
Likewise, local cabbage's price surged 46.15 percent to Rs 95.
Similarly, the price of dry onion rose to Rs 145 on November 8, up by 52.63% from the average price of Rs 95.
Officials blame the sharp rise in the price of onions to the ban in its export by India.
“Onion price rose suddenly because the Indian government banned its export to other nations. We rely on India for onion. When supply stopped due to the ban, price went up,” said Shrestha.
The escalating prices worry consumers, who say that the purchase of vegetables has been eating up a lot of their monthly income.
“The dramatic increase in the price of vegetables will compel students like us to eat junk and street food that are cheaper and more convenient,” Yukta Prasad Sharma, an engineering student in Kathmandu, told Republica.
“If I continue buying vegetables, it will take away most of my monthly budget, and it will clearly hamper my living as I have a fixed budget and cannot go beyond it. I am compelled to eat unhealthy food as I cannot afford to buy vegetables,” Sharma said.
However, there are few vegetables like red Indian potato, lettuce, and spinach leaves whose prices have started to fall due to increase in supply.