Fruits, veggie prices soar on supply disruptions

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu

Sep 28, 2015-

Prices of vegetables and fruits have soared sharply in the Kathmandu valley due to supply disruptions.

Major wholesale markets like Kalimati, Kuleshwor and Balkhu, have reported a drop in supplies, resulting in the price rise.

Importers said strikes in Tarai and India-imposed “blockade” have affected the supplies of onion, potato and other seasonal vegetables that come from Tarai and India.

Vegetable prices have soared by up to 40 percent in the past week. Onion was sold at Rs140-Rs150 per kg in the retail market on Sunday, while the wholesale price jumped 10 percent to Rs102 per kg.

The wholesale price of potato rose to 41 per kg from Rs31 a week ago. Red potato was retailing at Rs120-130 per dharni (2.5 kg), against Rs80-Rs90 a week ago.

Dipendra Shrestha, one of the wholesalers of potato and onion, said shipments have stopped for the past three days. “Two truckloads of potato and one truck onion are stranded at the Bhairahawa border point,” he said, adding these items would perish within a few days, resulting in huge losses.

He said around 30 truckloads of vegetables of other traders are also stuck at border points. A truck contains 20 tonnes of onions or potatoes.

“We are totally dependent on India for onion. Potatoes produced in Nepal are insufficient. If India stops sending these items, the domestic market faces shortages,” said Ramesh Dangol, planning officer of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB).

According to the board, around 95 percent of the onions arrive from India, while 80 percent of the potato demand is fulfilled by Indian imports.

Dangol said the market could face a shortage of onions and potatoes if the situation remains the same for another two-three days. “New potatoes will arrive only after 15-20 days from the main sources like Mude, Palung and Panauti,” said Dangol.

Shyam Lamichhane, manager of Balkhu Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables Market, said the current market demand was being fulfilled by the items brought three days ago. “Shipments from India have stopped and the market could face a shortage within two-three days,” said Lamichhane.

Kuleshwor Fruits Wholesale Market has also stopped receiving fruits. “India has released some trucks loaded with bananas, but the trucks loaded with other fruits like apple, papaya and pomegranate, among others, are still stranded at various border points,” said Amar Neupane, president of the Fruits Wholesalers Association, adding the existing fruit stocks would last for just two-four days.

Published: 28-09-2015 09:08

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