Vegetables get costlier as supply dwindles

Kathmandu, August 21

The persistent short-supply of vegetables due to the recent floods in Tarai has hit the consumers in the Kathmandu Valley hard, as the price of almost every vegetable has skyrocketed over the past one week.

As the monsoon calamity this year affected more than 16,474 hectares of vegetable farmlands and swept away vegetables worth almost Rs three billion in Tarai districts, supply of vegetable in the Valley’s market has been reduced by almost 200 tonnes per day. This, in turn, has spiked the price of vegetables.

The retail price of cauliflower — a highly-consumed vegetable — has surged by Rs 30 per kilogram over the period of last one week. Similarly, the retail price of pointed gourd (parwar) too has surged by Rs 30 per kilogram over the review period.

Cauliflower and pointed gourd were available at Rs 65 per kilogram and Rs 75 a kilogram, respectively, in the retail outlets a week ago.

“The price has surged so much that Rs 500 seems insufficient to buy vegetables for a day,” said Kanchan Poudel, a Kathmandu dweller buying vegetables in Maitidevi.

As per the price rate of Kalimati Vegetables Market — the major supplier of vegetables for Kathmandu Valley — price of all vegetables, including cauliflower, pointed gourd, tomato, brinjal, cowpea (bodi), French bean (simi), bitter gourd (titey karela), bottle gourd (lauka), sponge gourd (gheeraula) and spring onion, among others, have surged notably over past one week.

As per Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board (KFVMDB), the recent rise in price of vegetables is basically due to the short-supply of vegetables in the domestic market.

“The Valley demands around 700 tonnes to 800 tonnes of vegetables in a day, while the supply has been reduced to almost 550 tonnes per day in the aftermath of recent floods in Tarai. Majority of ready-to-harvest vegetables in Tarai farmlands were swept away by the floods, which has largely affected the supply,” explained Binaya Shrestha, information officer of KFVMDB.

KFVMDB officials also cited the recent surge in vegetable price to increased transportation cost for traders due to landslides along various routes.

Statistics of KFVMDB show that price of tomato and brinjal has increased by Rs 10 per kilogram each to Rs 95 per kilogram and Rs 45 per kilogram, respectively. Similarly, the price of cowpea and French bean has surged by

Rs 30 per kilogram each over the last one week to Rs 95 per kilogram and Rs 115 per kilogram, respectively.

The price of bitter gourd, bottle gourd and sponge gourd has also gone up by Rs 10 per kilogram each to Rs 45 per kilogram, Rs 55 per kilogram and Rs 65 per kilogram, respectively. Likewise, smooth gourd has become dearer by Rs 20 per kilogram to Rs 85 per kilogram. Spring onion too has become costlier by Rs 10 per kilogram to be priced at

Rs 105 per kilogram.