Wholesalers ‘running out of food stocks’

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu

Sep 3, 2015-

Wholesalers of daily essentials have said they are running out of stock amid supply disruption due to ongoing strikes in Tarai.

They warned their stocks would deplete within a week if the demand remains the same. The demand has remained unusually high as customers as well as retailers are hoarding goods

fearing of a possible shortage ahead of the festive season as the strikes do not seem to be ending anytime soon, they said.

Chandra Krishna Karmacharya, president of Rice, Pulses and Oil Manufacturers’ Association of Nepal, said most of the wholesalers were running out of stock as supply dropped by almost 50 percent.

He said the demand has risen significantly due to panic buying. “Some food items are being supplied under the police escorting, but this is not enough to meet the demand,” he said.

Hulas Foods, one of the wholesalers of rice, pulses, floor and beaten rice, said only 60 percent of the market demand was being fulfilled. “The demand is high as the festive season is nearing,” said Dhiraj Golchha, director of the company. “Two of or factories based in Tarai are not getting raw materials as transportation has been halted completely, while we have not been able to dispatch the finished goods.”

Golchha said the demand from the retailers has jumped 25-30 percent compared to normal times. “People fear the situation could get more tense, so everyone wants to keep the stock,” said Golchha.

KL Dugar, another wholesaler, said it has been supplying only 40-50 percent of the demand due to transportation problems, while its godowns are running out of stocks. KL Dugar sells rice, pulse, cooking oil, flour among others.

Kumud Dugar, managing director of the company, said their 12 factories are located in Biratnagar, Birgunj and Nepalgunj, among other Tarai towns, and many of them are not operational.

“As the stocks in godowns are depleting, we won’t be able supply to the retailers if the situation remains the same for another week,” said Dugar. Cooking oil supply could also be affected with most of the factories not operating, while raw materials are not reaching the factories, according to the manufacturers.

“We have to import palm oil from various countries, but the imports have stuck at customs points,” complained Manish Kumar Agrawal, director of Shree Krishna Oil Refinery, warning the market could face a shortage of edible oil too.

The government, on the other hand, says it is determined to avoid any scarcity of essentials. “Currently, there is no shortage of the essentials,” said Commerce and Supply Secretary Naindra Upadhaya.

“The government is committed to ensure easy availability of daily essential goods.”

He said some traders might have been trying to take advantage of the situation by creating artificial shortage.


Published: 03-09-2015 08:31

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