Wide difference in retail, wholesale prices of veggies

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Wide difference in retail, wholesale prices of veggies

May 27, 2014-

Vegetable retailers have been found to be charging prices up to double the wholesale rate. According to the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, retail shops have been selling heavily consumed vegetables such as tomato, potato, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, ladies’ finger and ginger with a mark-up of 50-100 percent.

Tomato, which is available for Rs 25 per kg at the Kalimati Wholesale Market, costs as much as Rs 40-50 per kg in many places in the valley. Cabbage costs Rs 40-45 per kg in the retail market while it sells for only Rs 25 per kg at Kalimati.

Onion and potato cost 50 percent more in the local market. Wholesale prices of red potato and Indian onion are Rs 30 per kg at the wholesale market while local vendors were selling them for Rs 40-45 per kg on Tuesday. Likewise, ladies’ finger costs

Rs 40 per kg in the retail market against Rs 25 per kg in the wholesale market.

Responding to complaints about overcharging by retailers, government officials said that there was no specific profit margin fixed for perishable items like vegetables.

Narayan Bidari, director general of the Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCS) which carries out market inspections, said the price difference between wholesale and retail markets was normal as a relatively higher price difference could be accepted for perishable items like vegetables.

“Normally, the difference between wholesale and retail prices should not be more than 20 percent, but this rule cannot be applied to perishable items like vegetables,” Bidari said.

He added that vendors had been allowed to fix prices based on the availability of vegetables and the losses they have to bear. Bidari also urged customers to stay abreast of the daily price information published by the Kalimati market authorities.

Meanwhile, Binay Shrestha, planning officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, said it would be difficult to monitor prices of vegetables which rot quicker compared to other food items in the market. He added that fluctuations in supply and demand were also the reason behind the huge differences in wholesale and retail prices.

“Each retailer sells vegetables of differing qualities, and they can set their prices as per the quality of their products,” he said. He added that the quality and origin of the vegetables also affected retail prices.

“We have to pay transportation costs to bring vegetables to the local market; and as they are highly perishable products, we have to be ready to suffer huge losses,” a vegetable seller at Gyaneshwor said. “If the tomatoes and leafy vegetables brought to my shop from Kalimati are not sold within a day, they will rot which means a total loss for me.” 

Published: 28-05-2014 09:01

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