Have deep pockets, will survive only then

KATHMANDU: In the proposed New Nepal, not everything may be new but prices are certainly so, especially food prices. These have escalated astonishingly as compared to the last two months. Only the well-to-do can afford a steady supply of quality food.

Produce like basic rice (Sona Mansuli) is up by Rs 30 per 30-kilo sack in the wholesale market while the retail rate has gone up by almost Rs 65. “The price has increased significantly in the retail sector. Basmati rice, on the other hand, is up by Rs 80 per sack. A 20-kilo sack earlier sold for Rs 1500 is now selling for 1,580,” said Bibendra Pradhananga, ration store owner.

However, the prices of oil and lentils have gone down slightly. Soya bean oil price is less by Rs 10 while mustard oil also has gone down by a few rupees. “Price rise has occurred mainly in perishable food items, such as meat and vegetables,” added Pradhananga.

Vegetables that could be had for a song are now most expensive. Cabbage sold for Rs 20 a kilo is now priced at Rs 40 to 50 per kilo. Tomatoes too have hit the sky, ranging from Rs 50 to 80 per kilo.

“Due to the dry spell since seven months, there has not been enough produce. Besides, commodities are not coming into the market due to repeated bandhs. Perishable items have to be sold fast, so we also have no option but to sell at according to the rates at what we buy,” said vegetable seller Badri Bhandari.

Vegetables such as radish, cauliflower, pumpkin and gourd are at an all-time high, at almost double the prices that they usually sold for barely a month back.

Meat product prices also are at an all-time high. Mutton stands at Rs 450 to 500 per kilo depending on shop to shop while chicken that was priced at Rs 120 per kilo till two months back is selling for Rs 240 per kilo. “Chickens and poultry products are not coming into the country because the main supply comes from India. Due to the frequent bandhs we are unable to bring in livestock,” said Ishwor Shahi, vice-president of Nepal Meat Business Committee.