Fruit prices soar on low supply; sales down

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu
Fruit prices soar on low supply; sales down

Jul 6, 2014-

Prices of fruits have increased in the Kathmandu valley, thanks to low supply. Traders said decreased imports from India, the major supplier of fruits to Nepal, contributed to the rise in the prices.

Summer fruits like mangoes and watermelon have become dearer by up to 50 percent over last week. Malda mango now costs Rs 90 per kg, against Rs 60 per kg a week ago at Kuleshwor wholesale market. Dasheri mango is being sold at Rs 65 per kg, up from Rs 50 per kg.

While watermelon price has soared to Rs 50 per kg from Rs 35 over the last week, sweet orange now costs Rs 110 per kg which was at Rs 80 a week ago. Fuji apple price jumped to Rs 300 per kg from Rs 200, while the price Jhole apple rose to Rs 150 per kg from Rs 110 a week ago. Papaya, jackfruit and grapes also saw a minimal rise in their prices.

The rise in the price of apple in the domestic market has also been attributed the increase in the prices in China, from where around 90 percent of the fruit sold in Nepal is imported. “As the apple season has ended, supply has declined massively from China, pushing the prices upward,” said Amar Baniya,

president of Nepal Fruits Wholesaler’s Association.

The price of banana, one of the fruits consumed during all seasons, has increased to Rs 80 per dozen, up from Rs 65. Bananas are supplied to the valley from Nawalparasi, Chitwan, Bara, Parsa and Sunsari, besides India. Traders around 60 percent of the bananas sold in the Capital come from India.

As of first 10 months of the current fiscal year, Nepal imported fruits worth Rs 1.84 billion from formal channels, according to Nepal Rastra Bank statistics.

Baniya said fruits supply was affected due to decreased production as a result of lower rainfall during the flowering period. “This affected the production of banana and mango badly this year,” he said. Baniya said the prices may rise further in the days to come as shipments from India have dropped in the recent days due to a rise in demand there amid the Ramadan festival.

Supplies in two other major fruits markets—Balkhu Agrcult-ure, Vegetables and Fruits Market and Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market — have also dived.

Shyam Lamichhane, manager of Balkhu Fruits and Vegetables Market, said the shipments have dropped 50 percent. “We are receiving 100 tonnes a day now, against 200 tonnes a month ago,” he said.

According to the data available on the website of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, 50 tonnes of fruits a day are arriving now on an average, down from 70 tonnes two weeks ago.

Vendors said the rising prices have resulted in low sales. Rajendra Sapkota, a fruit retailer at Tinkune, said the sales have declined by around 20 percent. “People come to the shop, ask the prices, and go empty-handed,” he said. “Even regular customers are buying less.”

Published: 07-07-2014 08:58

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