Veggie prices soar as production, supply decline
KATHMANDU, AUGUST 24
Traders in the valley have raised the price of vegetables in recent days citing low and production and disruption in supply.
Generally, August and September are considered a lean period for vegetable production and every year vegetable prices increase during these months. However, this year the price has increased significantly compared to the previous years.
According to Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Committee, vegetable prices have gone up as it is an off-season now and also as vegetables were damaged by the monsoon rain. It has also stated that prices have risen as supply has been hit due to the lockdown. According to the committee, vegetable prices have increased by over 200 per cent this season. Another factor that has contributed to the price hike is that vegetables that are imported from India have also become dearer.
Generally, Kalimati receives 700 to 800 tonnes of vegetables every day, but currently only 500 to 550 tonnes of vegetables are being supplied.
Meanwhile, traders have said that supply has reduced as production has declined this season. As a result, vegetable prices have soared in the market, said Khom Bahadur Ghimire, a vegetable trader from Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic most of the farmers could not cultivate vegetables. Thus, production has declined by almost 50 per cent this season,” he said, adding, “Vegetables like potatoes, onions and lemons were imported from India at a high cost, so prices have gone up in the domestic market as well.”
According to today’s vegetable price list of the committee, tomatoes costs Rs 62 per kg in wholesale while a month ago it was Rs 20 per kg. Similarly, potatoes cost Rs 61 per kg at the moment from Rs 59 a kg a month back. Likewise, onion is Rs 40 per kg, cabbage is Rs 45 a kg, local cauliflower is Rs 135 per kg, green beans are Rs 95 per kg and sword beans cost Rs 125 a kg in the wholesale market at present. Meanwhile a month ago, onions cost Rs 34 per kg, cabbage was Rs 38 a kg, local cauliflower was Rs 115 per kg, green beans were Rs 68 a kg and sword beans Rs 85 per kg in the wholesale market.
Similarly, lemon is being sold at Rs 245 per kg at the moment while it used to cost Rs 95 a kg a month back.
As per Ghimire, traders have increased vegetable prices at present also as just two months ago they had to sell vegetables at a very low price.
“Farmers have hiked the price of their produce so it is natural for prices to rise in the market when we factor in our margin,” he said. “However, prices of vegetables like, cucumber, carrot, spinach, radish have declined.”
Amid this, Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection has announced it will start strictly inspecting vegetable markets as they have been receiving frequent complaints regarding the price hike in vegetables.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 25, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.