Fruit, vegetable price hike to last till Tihar

KATHMANDU: The price hike in vegetables and fruits will reduce only after Tihar, said agro-entrepreneurs.

The price hike of vegetable and fruit since November 2005 is continuing till date. “Production has been drastically affected by the long drought this year,” said Federation of Fruits and Vegetables Enterpreneurs, Nepal (FEFVEN) president Khom Prasad Ghimire.

Ghimire said that the unnecessary and impractical taxes implemented by the government should be abolished as agriculture sector is the backbone of the country and has to be developed into an industry so as to generate employment opportunities.

He said that agro-entrepreneurs have been paying Rs 17,000 to Rs 35,000 tax while transporting a single vehicle loaded with vegetables and fruits. “The production of Nepal covers only about 25-30 per cent of the demand in the country,” said Kalimati Vegetable Market Committee president Bharat Prasad Khatiwada. “The current need of the country is about 1000 metric tonnes but only 400-500 metric tonnes production has been possible,” he said adding that most of the fruits and vegetables are imported from India, China, Tibet, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand.

“When the price decreases in Kalimati market, farmers start supplying these products to Pokhara creating an artificial shortage in the valley,” said Nepal Fruits and Vegetables Enterpreneurs Central Association president Narayan Dhital.

“The government should develop policies regarding market management and establish national level resource markets in various parts of the country,” added Dhital. Accodring to him, this will bring transparency to the market and help develop the market in a well-managed way.

Ghimire said that there are times when enterpreneurs have to dump their goods and bear all losses. The government should seriously consider look into the matter to cope with such adverse conditions. “The government should also faciliate enterpreneurs by providing concessions in fertilizers, irrigation facilities, timely delivery of goods and creating a managed marketing environment so that prices come down,” he said adding that the total import is less than 40 per cent and the supply is not enough to meet the demand.

However, if the government would amend agro-policies, Nepal can become independent in vegetable and fruit production, added Ghimire.

“Most of the fruits are supplied from Morang and Sunsari.

That has raised the prices of fruits as transportation charge is

higher,” said Khatiwada. He said that the price of vegetables

and fruits have to be determined in terms of quality and the season of the country.