Fish prices shoot up with rising demand

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Fish prices shoot up with rising demand

Dec 1, 2014-

Fish prices have shot up by 10-15 percent in the last one year, largely due to increased demand for locally produced live fish.

Wholesale prices of various types of fish produced in Nepal range from Rs 180 to Rs 220 per kg, up from Rs 160 to Rs 180 previously. Retail prices are between Rs 280 and Rs 300 per kg against Rs 250 to Rs 270 a year ago.

However, prices of fish imported from India have remained unchanged over the year. Live fish from India costs Rs 450 per kg in the Kathmandu valley.

Traders said that there was no sign of prices cooling down as consumers were shifting to fish from other kinds of meat due to its health benefits. Fish meat is rich in omega fatty acid besides being a good source of protein and it is not high in saturated fat.

“Local fish has become most popular among consumers nowadays but demand outstrips production,” said Tulasi Raj Giri, president of the Fishery Association of Nepal. “As there is more demand than supply, prices have soared.”

Fish prices particularly go up in the winter as consumption increases during this time. Giri added that higher costs of feed, raw materials used for fish farming and labour also contributed to the price increase. “Production costs have risen 10 percent compared to last year.”

Ramananda Mishra, programme coordinator at the Fishery Development Programme, said that demand had been growing 20 percent annually while production had been rising at the rate of 10 percent.

Nepal produced around 64,900 tonnes of fish in the last fiscal year, up from 57,500 tonnes in the previous fiscal. “As Nepal’s production is not able to fulfil the requirement, fish is being imported from India to make up the deficit,” said Mishra. An estimated 80 percent of the fish sold in Nepal is imported.

Fish farming has great potential in Nepal but it is not being fully exploited.

“Although people have been gradually turning to fish farming these days, they are discouraged from keeping at it due to the high mortality rate,” said Mishra. Nepal is home to more than 232 species of fish, and the major fish producing districts are Bara, Morang, Saptari, Dhanusha, Bardia, Janakpur, Chitwan, Rupandehi, Rautahat, Makwanpur and Parsa.

Jalandhar Singh, a fish supplier and farmer, said they had not been able to meet demand as local production is nominal. “As fish mature slowly during the winter, prices also go up,” he said.

Published: 02-12-2014 10:04

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