Meat prices go up

KATHMANDU: Meat prices are higher in February compared with January.

“The outbreak of bird flu — around Pokhara — has resulted in an increased demand for mutton and other meats pushing the price in Kathmandu by over Rs 50 per kilo — from Rs 450 per kg to Rs 500 per kg,” according to a report of World food Programme (WFP) and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC).

National food price hike still remains a serious concern. “The most recent year-on-year food price inflation figure provided by the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) in February was 18.1 per cent against 17.8 per cent last month,” it said adding that the high food prices are driving overall consumer price inflation upwards that is currently estimated at 11.8 per cent.

The price of staple food grains have generally remained stable

or declined across the country.

The average price of coarse rice in February was Rs 31 per kg — against Rs 32 last month, while the national average of wheat price was at Rs 32 per kg — against Rs 35 last month, but blackgram was Rs 113 per kg — against Rs 110 last month, said the report.

Grain prices are relatively stable due to the recent summer harvest which has helped re-stock local markets. The report attributed the weak summer harvest that was unable to significantly reduce prices as would normally be expected at this time of year.

However, vegetable prices are dropping as supply becomes more smooth. The price of potatoes is down by 35 per cent compared with last month. However, across the country prices are still above the average in comparison to the same period last year. Potato costs Rs 20 per kg compared with Rs 16 per kg in 2009.

Generally supply improved across Nepal during February. However, supply to Mugu was hampered due to snowfall and it delayed the re-stocking of both local markets and blocked WFP food aid deliveries for a number of days.

The supply of cooking gas was also affected across the country due to strike by the LPG Industry Association. However the strike was lifted in early March. However, over 70 per cent of hilly markets had insufficient supply of cooking gas during February.

During January bandhs closed markets for at least one day in Saptari, Siraha, Bara, Dailekh, Jumla, Kailali and Kanchanpur.