Cascade effect sends veg prices sky high

KATHMANDU: Though the government has announced that it will control price hike by monitoring the market, the step has not been effective. Instead, a combination of the festive season, road obstructions, little supply and high demand has sent prices spiralling. The price of vegetables has risen suddenly though these were fixed during Dashain. The price of vegetable products was static during the time since most of the consumers left Kathmandu Valley to mark the festival at their respective homes, said vegetable traders.

Traders said with the return of these consumers the price gets higher as the second-largest festival of Nepali people, Tihar, comes nearer. During festivals, people purchase more goods. With the rise in demand, prices too have risen.

The wholesale market of vegetable, Kalimati, sells tomatoes for Rs 60 per kg, cauliflower for Rs 50 per kg and okra for Rs 80 per kg.

Meanwhile, in Dadeldhura also the price of vegetables has skyrocketed due to prolonged traffic disruption.

Rural in Bagarkot, Pokhara Kotali, Ugaratara Chamada, Budar and Jogbuda have remained obstructed for 11 days after landslides cut off the transportation network. Consumers said vegetables prices have doubled over the past few days. “In comparison to last week, the price of almost all vegetables has doubled,” said a consumer, Surendra Bhatta. He said vegetables are in short supply even if consumers were willing to buy.

According to traders, vegetables could not be brought from villages to the district headquarters due to road obstruction. “Eleven days have passed but we have not been able to fetch vegetables from villages,” said Surat Bohara, a local trader.

Meanwhile, vegetables are rotting in the fields and farmers are suffering tremendous losses. Tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, pumpkin and beans produced in several villages have gone waste due to the lack of market. A farmer of Bagarkot VDC, Nirmala Panta, said vegetables worth thousands of rupees are rotting in her fields.

However, farmers of Yampaphat, Bandipur-8 and Damauli in Tanahun district have grown vegetables and fruits worth over Rs 150 million. Vegetables produced in this area are exported to different parts of the country including Pokhara, Damauli district’s headquarters, Kathmandu and other places. Some 150 farmers are engaged in commercial vegetable farming on 98 hectares of land. Farmers mainly produce cauliflower, cabbage, radish, carrot, garlic, onion, bitter gourd, peas, pumpkin, brinjal etc. By selling vegetables farmers have purchased land in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Damauli and Narayanghat as well.

Yampaphat farmers Shree Kant Bhattarai, Hari Narayan Poudel, Yal Bahadur Lamichhane, Ram Chandra Adhikari, Bal Krishna Pokhrel among others have succeeded in making good profit by selling vegetables.