Veggie prices soar as rain disrupts supplies

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 28, 2016-

Vegetable prices in the Kathmandu Valley have swelled as shipments have been disrupted with heavy rainfall and landslides continuing to wreak havoc in many parts of the Tarai. 

The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market on Wednesday reported a sharp drop in total deliveries. “Usually, the market receives 700 tonnes of fresh vegetables per day; but due to road blockages and rainfall, the supply has fallen to 500 tonnes, pushing up prices,” said Bharat Khatiwada, a trader at Kalimati. 

According to sellers, supplies of vegetables from the Tarai have shrunk due to the damage caused to standing crops by heavy rain during the past two weeks.

Khatiwada said three main reasons—transportation difficulties, rain induced landslides and farmers’ engagement in paddy transplantation—had contributed to the lower supply of vegetables during the monsoon. 

“Irregular supplies are a recurring event during the monsoon as farmers in villages with a poor road network are unable to supply vegetables,” he added.

Cauliflower, one of the most widely consumed vegetables, has become dearer by nearly 90 percent over a month. The monsoon is also the off season for cauliflower. The vegetable now costs Rs85 per kg compared to Rs45 last month.

Similarly, prices of seasonal vegetables like brinjal, bitter gourd and black-eyed bean have soared 57 percent, 85 percent and 44 percent respectively. Pumpkin, which used to cost around Rs35 per kg, now costs Rs75, an increase of 114 percent. 

However, prices of green leafy vegetables like fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, and spinach, among others, have not increased by more than 15 percent as they are locally produced and supplies have not fallen substantially, said traders. 

Potato prices likely to jump

KATHMANDU: Potato prices are likely to jump as India has imposed a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of $360 (Rs3,880) per tonne for potato exports. “The export of potatoes is permitted subject to an MEP of $360 per tonne,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), India said in a notification. According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported potatoes worth around Rs4 billion in the last fiscal year 2015-16. As Nepal’s potato output also decreased 2 percent in the last fiscal year to 278,000 tonnes, the country will have to 

import more this year to fulfil the requirement of its growing population. This is likely to create a short supply of potatoes pushing up prices. 

According to Indian media reports, the main objective behind imposing the MEP on exports is to increase availability in the Indian market and cool prices. “Presently, 10 trucks each laden with 20 tonnes of Indian potatoes arrive at the Kalimati market on a daily basis,” said Dependra Shrestha, a potato and onion trader based at Kalimati. “After the new regulation comes into effect, prices can be expected to increase in the upcoming days.”

 

PRICES COMPARED

Vegetable    June 27    July 27    Change

Tomato    Rs75    Rs95    26.66%

Potato    Rs55    Rs55    —

Cauliflower    Rs45    Rs85    88.88%

Brinjal    Rs35    Rs55    57.14%

Black-Eyed Bean    Rs45    Rs65    44.44%

Bitter Gourd    Rs35    Rs65    85.71%

Pumpkin    Rs35    Rs75    114.28%

Green Leafy Vegetables     Rs48    Rs55    14.58%

Published: 28-07-2016 10:57

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