Sales of dried fruits soar as Tihar nears

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Sales of dried fruits soar as Tihar nears

Oct 15, 2014-

Sales of dried fruits have started soaring in the Kathmandu valley with the approach of the Tihar festival. City dwellers have been besieging sellers ranging from pavement vendors to retail stores to buy cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins and other favourites fearing a rise in prices during the days of the celebrations.

Around 80 percent of the dried fruits sold in the markets of Kathmandu are imported, said traders. Makhan, Indra Chowk and Asan in Kathmandu are the major bazaars where these festival essentials are sold.

“The Tihar festival is the peak season for dried fruit sellers,” said Ram Kumar Shrestha, general secretary of the Retailers Association of Nepal. According to him, around 50 percent of the annual sales happen during the 15 days before Tihar.

“Many people have already started stocking up on dried fruits due to fears that dealers could hike prices with increasing demand,” said Ratna Kaji Tuladhar, a retailer at Asan. He added that sales of dried fruits jump five-fold during the festival season. “Prices have not risen much this year though demand has been at an all-time high,” he said. “An increase in supply and the Nepali rupee rising against the US dollar has also played a major role in the stable prices.”

Besides the occurrence of the Tihar festival, another reason for swelling demand is the increased trend of consuming dried fruits on a daily basis. The country imports dried fruits from India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Indonesia, Brazil and the US. “There is a tradition of sisters presenting dried fruits and chocolates to their brothers during the celebration of Bhai Tika, so business jumps several times during this period,” said Bicky Rauniyar, a retailer at Makhan. He added that a rise in the practice of corporate houses gifting dried fruits during the Tihar festival had also contributed to the increase in sales.

Retail prices of cashew nuts range from Rs 950 to Rs 1,200 per kg. Similarly, almonds cost Rs 1,150 to Rs 1,300 per kg, pistachio Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 per kg, raisins Rs 450 to Rs 600 per kg and dates Rs 140 to Rs 150 per kg. Likewise, figs cost Rs 750 to Rs 1,000 per kg. “Prices of dried fruits may differ as per the variety and quality,” said Shrestha.

Published: 16-10-2014 09:54

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