Onion prices almost double in past month

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Onion prices almost double in past month

Aug 4, 2015-

Retail and wholesale onion prices have almost doubled in the past month in the Kathmandu Valley due to higher costs in India and lowered domestic production. Onions are being sold at Rs80-90 per kg in the retail market against Rs45-50 per kg last month.

The popular vegetable costs Rs68 per kg at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, the largest vegetable market in the valley. Traders said that prices could go up further in the coming days.

Binay Shrestha of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB), said that onion prices swelled mainly due to a rise in prices in India which fulfills almost all of Nepal’s requirement. The Kalimati market receives 70-80 tonnes of onions daily from India. Indian media reported that prices had skyrocketed as heavy rains destroyed onion crops in many parts of the country, leading to a drop in production.

Onions presently cost IRs40-50 per kg retail in India. Although prices go up annually during the rainy season, they were 50 percent higher compared to the same period last year. On August 4 last year, the wholesale price of onion was Rs45 per kg. Prices are unlikely to drop before September until new harvests arrive in the market.

“We import onions from India and prices are already high there. So we have no choice but to charge more,” said Dahiraj Upreti, a large importer of onions and potatoes at Kalimati. Upreti added that a hike in transportation costs on the Bhairahawa-Kathmandu route had also pushed up prices. According to him, truck companies have ramped up the freight by Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 per truck recently.

Similarly, potato prices have also started increasing due to a fall in supplies. Red potato was being sold for Rs25 per kg wholesale on Thursday, up from Rs22 per kg last month, at the Kalimati Wholesale Market. The wholesale price of white potato soared to Rs19 per kg from Rs16 per kg before. Potato retails at Rs70-90 per dharni (2.5 kg) in different parts of the Kathmandu Valley against Rs60 per dharni a month ago. Shrestha of the board added that potato prices were likely to increase further as shipments from the main sources like Mude, Palung and Panauti had dropped from the beginning of the monsoon season. According to the board, about 72-75 tonnes of potato arrive daily at the Kalimati market. But shipments have dropped significantly from last month. During the period mid-July to mid-August, the market received 2,138.6 tonnes of potatoes, while shipments during the period mid-June to mid-July amounted to 3,041.3 tonnes.

Published: 05-08-2015 08:43

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