Prices of dry fruits jump

  • - Many shopkeepers are found charging 25-30pc more - Traders attribute the hike to blockade
- SUMAN BASHYAL
Prices of dry fruits like cashew nuts, almonds and raisin have become costlier by Rs200-300 per kg

Nov 9, 2015-Prices of dry fruits have rocketed in the Kathmandu valley, making ‘Bhaimasala’ costlier this Tihar. While some traders attributed the price rise to low supply amid sudden rise in demand with the approach of the festival, others blamed wholesalers for the hike citing the rise in the transportation cost. Prices of dry fruits like cashew nuts, almonds and raisin have become costlier by Rs200-300 per kg.

Cashew nuts are being sold at Rs1,300-Rs1,400 per kg, up from Rs1, 100-Rs1,150 a month ago. Likewise, the price of almond has shot up Rs300-400 to Rs 1,600 per kg. The price of raisin has increased from Rs250-300 per kg to Rs500 and walnuts from Rs500 per kg to Rs700-900. Date, cardamom and fig have also become costlier by upto Rs200 per kg over the period.

Chandika Regmi, a customer from Basundhara, who was seen buying various dry fruits at Makhangalli, Newroad, complained that almost all items for the Tihar festival have become expensive this year. Another customer Samita Pokharel from Balkhu also shared the same sentiment.

“Many shopkeepers have set their prices arbitrarily and the government is not monitoring the market,” she complained.

Ajayraj Acharya, a retailer at Thapathali, passed on the buck to the wholesalers who he claimed had marked up the rates by 25-30 percent. “A month ago, I had bought the cashew nuts at Rs1,150 per kg, but the wholesaler now charged me Rs1,400,” he said, adding that the wholesalers had hiked the prices citing the rise in the transportation cost. Acharya also blamed the cartelling by some wholesalers for the price hike.

According to traders, most of the dry fruits are imported from countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Indonesia, the United States and Brazil, among others. “This time around, traders have been facing difficulty in supply. Some items have been stranded at border points, while a few trucks arrived here through the Bhairahawa customs point by paying higher transportation cost,” said Devendra Bhakta Shrestha, secretary of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce. Shrestha said

that transporters have hiked the cargo fares by three-four times compared to normal times.

“Transporters, who lament they have to buy diesel at much higher cost in the black market, are not supplying the goods at the previous rates,” said Shrestha, adding that the wholesalers also have no other option but to jack up the price to cover the cost overruns.

According to Shrestha, many truck loads of walnuts are still stranded at many border points. But he said they had urged the traders to sell the dry fruits at lower profit margins.

Bicky Rouniyar, a dry fruits trader at Makhangalli, said, “We are having difficulty in the supply, but we are selling whatever items we have in stocks while keeping profit margins at minimum.”

Published: 09-11-2015 08:56

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