Tomato prices jump on sharp drop in supplies

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Tomato prices jump on sharp drop in supplies

Mar 27, 2015-

Tomato prices have skyrocketed in the Kathmandu valley over the month with retail prices surging to Rs70-80 per kg from Rs20-25 due to a sharp drop in supplies.

The wholesale price of the popular vegetable on Friday was Rs56 per kg, up from Rs19 a month ago, at the Kalimati market, the largest vegetable market in the valley.

Traders said that the market had been reeling under a short supply, leading to prices rising. They attributed the short supply to heavy rains and the season ending for tunnel farming. Major wholesale markets in Kalimati, Balkhu, Tukucha Bazaar and New Baneshwor had reported a sharp decline in incoming shipments.

“Though the supply of other vegetables is normal, the supply of tomato has dropped significantly over the week,” said Binay Shrestha, senior planning officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB).

He added that shipments from major tomato suppliers across the Kathmandu valley was very low. “Tomatoes are being brought from Dhading, Kavre and various parts of the Tarai besides India to meet the demand, “ he said.

Meanwhile, traders said that prices may not come down anytime soon as local products will only be available from mid-June onwards. “Most of the requirement is being fulfilled by local producers, but the tomato planting season has just started, and it will take at least one and a half months before harvesting can be done,” said Khoj Raj Bhetuwal, president of the Nepal Tunnel Farmers Association.

He added that recent rains had also affected crops in many areas, leading to a fall in the supply. According to him, more and more farmers in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Dhankuta, Ilam, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Narayanghat and Butwal were taking up tunnel farming. During season, local products from Thankot, Balambu, Mulpani, Jitpurphedi, Kirtipur and Godavari fulfil almost 90 percent of the total requirement.

Meanwhile, Bharat Khatiwada, president of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesalers’ Association, said, “As rains have hit the crops, there has been a 25 percent drop in supplies this week from the Tarai and India. Prices are unlikely to come down after the new harvest arrives in the market.” Tomato prices are 30 percent higher compared to the same season last year when the wholesale price was Rs43 per kg, according to the KFVMDB.

Published: 28-03-2015 09:09

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