Lentils getting dearer, sugar again at an all-time high

KATHMANDU: Lentils — rahar, moong and masuro — are becoming out of reach for the common man after the government lifted the ban on lentil export on

December 16. The price of rahar has reached Rs 150 kg followed by moong (Rs 150 per kg) and masuro (Rs 105 per kg) in the last week of December. The price of a kilogram of rahar, moong and masuro was Rs 130, Rs 110 and Rs 95 respectively in November.

Common folk are reeling under the impact of the revoaction of the ban. Kritika Pandey, a housewife from New Baneshwor, asked in distress, “How can people survive in this condition?” The prices of most food commodities, mainly lentils and sugar are all on the higher side.

The Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS) lifted ban on lentil export under pressure from mills. Also, major importers — Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — requested the government to lift the ban. Under the MoCS’ decision, 18 lentil mills can export 15,000 tonnes of lentils from their stock of 17,500 tonnes.

Sugar price saw an unprecedented rise as the government functionaries could not import sugar on time. Last month, MoCS had given permission to National Trading Ltd and Salt Trading Corporation to import 25,000 tonnes of sugar from Brazil and 1,250 tonnes from Thailand.

Sugar has been selling for Rs 80 kg in the last week of December, up from Rs 53 per kg recorded in June. Despite the price hike of 66.25 per cent, sugar shortage in market is hitting customers. “Sugar is hard to get,” said Neelam Sharma of Anamnagar.

The government is planning to import 2,500 tonnes of sugar from India within two weeks, said MoCS joint secretary Ganesh Dhakal. MoCS has directed National Trading and Salt Trading to bring 2,500 tonnes of sugar at the earliest, he added.