HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Overall food availability is expected to be affected in coming months, according to a report. “Food supply will be affected as paddy production is likely to be low in some eastern Tarai districts due to late monsoon and shortage of fertilisers during plantation,” according to a joint report published by UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD), Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries, and Consumer Interest Protection Forum.
The report has predicted that the production of crops in 2012, such as paddy and maize, is expected to decline by 10 per cent. Moreover, summer crops, mainly maize, has started to be harvested in the hilly region and overall production is expected to be normal to moderate except in a few hilly districts, says report.
Likewise, the festive season of mid-October to mid-November is likely to aid prices of staple food commodities and prices of meats, fruits, vegetables and edible oils to stay high. Prices of most commodities, regularly monitored by MoAD and WFP, showed an upward trend over the past one month, says the report.
Retail prices of staple foods such as coarse rice and wheat flour increased by 3.6 per cent to Rs 37, and by 4.9 per cent to Rs 37.6 per kilo, respectively.
Likewise, Nepal Rastra Bank’s inflation data also show increased food prices contributing to the increased level of overall inflation. By mid-September, the index of food and beverage group increased by 10.4 per cent, as overall inflation reached 11.2 per cent during the review period. The food index had increased by 10.1 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Under the items of the food and beverage group, the price index of sugar and sweets sub-group increased by the highest rate of 23.4 per cent during the review period, as compared to an increase of 5.7 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The consistent increase in fuel prices has also led transport fares to go up by 15.7 per cent during the review period, as compared to an increase of 12.7 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year. Such increment in transportation cost has also fuelled the food price.
Report, however, anticipates improved food supply in food deficit areas since many roads linked to the hill and mountain markets from the Tarai have begun to operate smoothly as monsoon has ended.