Potato, onion prices jump due to slump in supply

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Potato, onion prices jump due to slump in supply

Jun 19, 2014-

Potato and onion prices have jumped 11-12 percent over a week in the Kathmandu valley due to higher costs in India and a fall in domestic production, said traders.  

Red potato was being sold for Rs 39 per kg wholesale on Thursday, up from 35 per kg last week, at the Kalimati Wholesale Market. Similarly, onions cost Rs 35 per kg, up from Rs 31 a week ago.  The surge in wholesale prices has sent retail prices soaring 16 to 22 percent. Red potato retails at Rs 110 -120 per dharni (2.5 kg) in different parts of the Kathmandu valley against Rs 90 per dharni a week ago. Likewise, onion is being sold at Rs 40-42 per kg against Rs 36 per kg previously.

Binay Shrestha, senior planning officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB), said that onion prices rose mainly due to a rise in prices in India from where Nepal imports almost all its onion requirement.

The jump in prices has led to fluctuations in shipment. The market received 63 tonnes of onions on Wednesday, 98 tonnes on Tuesday and 31 tonnes on Monday, said the board. According to the board, around 60 tonnes of onions had been arriving daily during the period mid-May to mid-June.

Shrestha added that potato prices were likely to increase further as shipments from the main sources like Mude, Palung and Panauti could fall this season. “Farmers have been saying that the low rainfall during the planting season could result in reduced output,” said Shrestha. According to the board, about 76 tonnes of potato arrive daily at the Kalimati market of which 10 percent are imported from India. Meanwhile, traders said that onion could become dearer as harvests have fallen short of expectations in the major growing regions of Karnataka and Bengal in India.

“We are fully dependent on India for our onion requirement, and prices there have been increasing continuously for the last two weeks due to low output caused by a poor monsoon and adverse weather,” said Dhangiraj Giri, a wholesaler at Kalimati.

Dipendra Shrestha, a potato trader at Kalimati, said that potato prices would maintain an upward trend till October. “Due to a heavy drought during the planting season, production was down in many parts of the country, so we have to depend on India to make up the deficit,” he said.

“Till now, a bulk of the shipments of potato have been coming from Kavre district, but they will run out of stock within a few days, and then we will have to import potato from India and Bhutan.”


Published: 20-06-2014 09:17

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