Veggie prices fall due to exodus from Valley

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu
Veggie prices fall due to exodus from Valley

May 22, 2015-

Vegetable prices have plunged in the Kathmandu valley due to a sharp fall in demand after hundreds of thousands poured out of the Capital in the wake of the devastating tremor. Bitter gourd, cauliflower, ladies’ finger, cabbage and egg plant, among others, have become cheaper by 30 to 60 percent in the last 10 days.

Wholesalers said that although supplies had been swelling since the massive aftershock of May 12, there were few takers. “The number of retailers coming to buy vegetables has decreased significantly,” said a bulk seller.

Large traders at the major wholesale markets in the valley like Kalimati and Balkhu could be seen waiting for customers. Middlemen have been buying less vegetables from farmers nowadays as vendors have had to dump their stocks for lack of buyers.

“As many people have fled the valley due to fears of fresh tremors, sales have dropped by around 50 percent. People who used to buy 10 kg of vegetables are presently buying only 5 kg,” said Nawaraj KC, a wholesaler at the Balkhu Agriculture, Vegetables and Fruits Market (BAVFM). He was offering cucumber, cauliflower and French bean at Rs20 per kg against Rs28 last week.

Similarly, Maya Bhandari, a wholesaler at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesale Market, said, “Around 20-30 percent of the vegetables are going to waste daily as retail sellers are not coming to buy them,” she said.

The Kalimati market has been receiving 400-500 tonnes of vegetables and fruits daily. The market used to receive 600-700 tonnes daily during normal times, according to the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board (KFVMDB).

Officials at the KFVMDB said that supplies had been increasing gradually but most vegetables remained unsold. “Vegetable shipments have been arriving regularly from various parts of the country and India, but there are fewer traders compared to normal times,” said Binay Shrestha, senior planning officer at the KFVMDB. Likewise, Shyam Lamichhane, manager of the BAVFM, said, “As demand is low, we are bringing less vegetables.” According to him, the market has been receiving 200-300 tonnes of vegetables daily. It gets 400-450 tonnes vegetables and fruits daily during normal times.

Bharat Khatiwada, president of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesalers Association, said that farmers were becoming worried because their vegetables were starting to rot in the fields. “Farmers have been hit with a double whammy. They lost their homes and livestock to the earthquake and now there is no market for their vegetables,” he said.

PRICES COMPARED (Per Kg)

                May 22    Last month

Potato        Rs28    Rs30

Squash         Rs25    Rs40

Cabbage         Rs25    Rs 30

Egg Plant Long    Rs30    Rs40

Cow Pea         Rs45    Rs60

Cauli Local    Rs30    Rs45

Tomato Big    Rs75    Rs90

Bitter gourd    Rs32    Rs40

Published: 23-05-2015 09:08

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