‘Onions dearer due to price rise in India’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2017-

Onion prices in Kathmandu have shot up because they have become dearer in India and not because of crooked middlemen, the Department of Supplies Management (DoSM) said. The southern neighbour is Nepal’s largest supplier of the indispensable vegetable.

As per the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, the price of onion has jumped 35 percent in the Kathmandu Valley in the last two weeks. 

Onions were selling for Rs115 per kg on Monday at Kalimati, one of the largest wholesale vegetable markets in the Valley. DoSM Director General Kumar Prasad Dahal said onions cost more because of a price rise in India. 

Nepal imports 90 percent of its requirement of onions. “During the market inspection conducted by the department last week, we found that there was no big difference in prices in Kathmandu and the Nepal-India border,” he said. 

According to Dahal, the department focused on wholesale markets in Bhairahawa, Birgunj, Butwal, Nepalgunj and the Valley to compare prices. He added that higher domestic production and an integrated supply system was needed to maintain regular supply and price stability. 

“Many farmers in districts such as Kavrepalanchok and Nuwakot have been selling their onions cheaply during the main harvesting season as they lacked warehouses to store their products,” he said. 

The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board also cited higher prices in India for the price rise in the domestic market despite adequate supply. Narayan Rupakheti, an officer at the board, said the Kalimati Market had been receiving eight to 10 trucks of imported onions daily. 

“As we are totally dependent on India for onions, a price rise there has a direct effect on the Nepali market,” Rupakheti said. He added that traders were reluctant to import onions from China due to their bland taste and poorer quality compared to the Indian product. 

India is one of the main suppliers of onions in the South Asian market. Last week, the price of onion was recorded at IRs80 per kg in the Indian market, according to Indian media reports. 

The Indian government has imposed a minimum export price of $850 per tonne in a bid to control exports and stabilise prices in the Indian market. “Indian curbs on exports could lift prices in key importing countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka,” states Reuters.

Rupakheti said a number of Indian exporters had been supplying onions illegally to the Nepali market. “Due to this reason, the supply has increased nominally and this has helped to prevent prices from rising further,” he said. 

Published: 05-12-2017 07:56

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