Bitter taste of high-priced sugar

KATHMANDU: The price hike is at its peak, wallets are getting thinner and the one factor that has turned things bitter is the spiralling price of our daily sweetener that no one can do without — sugar.

According to data for the first seven months of this fiscal supplied by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central bank, among the items in the food and beverages group, the price indices of sugar and sugar-related products increased by a whopping 46.7 per cent in mid-February 2009.

A kg of sugar that cost Rs 50 just a month back is priced at Rs 60 today. Though the hike in sugar prices have not affected the market for sweets, the price of sweetmeats has definitely gone up by a good amount over the past seven months.

Shree Ram Bhandar, one of the oldest sweet shops in the valley, has had to hike prices over the last seven months, with the result that a piece of Rasbhari that used to cost Rs 10 just a few months is selling for Rs 15.

Another sweets shop, Angan, increases its prices every year. “We increase prices annually to stay in tune with the market, but we do not change prices according to the fluctuation in ingredients’ prices,” said Anil Agarwal, manager.

Though the hike in sugar prices have not affected sweet shops, consumers are surely feeling the pinch due to the increase in prices.

“The way everything is becoming so expensive, it will be impossible to survive. Sugar is an indispensable household item and we can’t do without it,” said housewife Renu Chettri.