Retailers keep potato prices up in Valley

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Retailers keep potato prices up in Valley

Nov 2, 2014-

Retail prices of potato have remained unchanged despite a massive drop in bulk prices in Kathmandu. Red potato now costs Rs 51 per kg wholesale, down from Rs 65 per kg two weeks ago; but retailers continue to charge Rs 68 to Rs 70 per kg in the vegetable markets of the valley.

As potatoes are a staple item on the daily menu for many Nepalis, continued high prices are a matter of concern to the general public. According to traders, prices have skyrocketed in recent days due to a slowdown in supplies because of the festival season.

Meanwhile, wholesalers and the government agency in charge of monitoring the Kalimati vegetable market said that prices had come down following an improvement in supplies lately.

But retailers said that they were finding it difficult to get new supplies. “We are not getting enough new potatoes from the wholesale market too,” said a retailer in Gyaneshwor.

According to wholesalers, new potatoes from Nala, Panauti and Sankhu have started arriving in the market and prices have fallen. Dipendra Shrestha, a potato wholesaler at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, said that they were receiving around 1,000 sacks presently against 300 sacks earlier. A sack contains 65-70 kg of  potatoes.

He added that prices were likely to go down further as shipments from India and Bangladesh had increased with the end of the festival season. “Around 2,000 sacks are arriving in the Kalimati market daily,” said Shrestha. Wholesale prices of Indian potato came down to Rs 40 per kg from Rs 45 per kg two weeks ago.

Binay Shrestha, senior planning officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, said that the market had been receiving plenty     of potatoes from various sources.

Similarly, Shyam Lamichhane, manager of the Balkhu Agriculture, Vegetables and Fruits Market, said, “Due to the series of celebrations, supplies had been stopped till last week, but they are smooth now.”  Meanwhile, onion prices have jumped 18 percent over a week in the wholesale market. Prices of the indispensable vegetable have reached Rs 45 wholesale, up from Rs 38 per kg.

Local vendors are selling onions at Rs 55 to Rs 60 per kg. Traders attributed the price rise due to low supplies from India. “Supplies were halted due to the Diwali festival, they will come to normal in a few days,” said Dadhiraj Upreti, an onion and potato trader in Kalimati.

Published: 03-11-2014 09:27

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