Food prices touching sky

KATHMANDU: The price of rice has increased by 19 per cent, mustard oil by 30 per cent and musuro (broken lentil) by 37 per cent since the price hike started 18 months ago. “The price of most staple food commodities remained high during April but were generally stable compared to the previous month,” according to a monthly report of the World Food Programme (WFP).

WFP has shown serious concern over the food price hike. The year-on-year (y-o-y) price hike figures for March, saw a 53 per cent rise in the price of sugar and a 24.6 per cent rise in the price of vegetables. The continued price increase of sugar and vegetables this month remains a major concern.

“Due to the perishable nature of vegetable products, price increases are largely related to continued supply disruptions,” it said. Fuel shortages and the Tarai band created a supply burden that has fueled the price hike, it reasoned.

At the national level, the price of most staple food commodities remained high but generally stable during April. “Compared to last month, the price of rice, wheat flour, black gram and cooking oil all remained largely unchanged,” said the report prepared by WFP in association of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives — Department of Agriculture, Agribusiness Promotion and Marketing Development Directorate (ABPMDD), Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) and Consumer Interest Protection Forum (CIPF). It also reveals supply constraints that remained a serious concern for rural markets in April. Many rural markets are now experiencing critical food shortages for the second month in a row due to bandhs and fuel shortages.

Unlike neighbouring nations in the region, the price of staple food commodities in Nepal remain significantly high.