Food prices soar amid festival buying spree

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 13, 2018-

Prices of edibles in the Kathmandu Valley have soared amid a festive shopping spree. Vegetable, fruit, meat, flour, edible oil, sugar and egg, among others, have all become dearer.

Goat meat has become dearer by Rs50-100 per kg while the price of edible oil has increased by Rs20 per litre and the price of flour has gone up by Rs7-10 per kg.

Vegetables, in particular, potato and tomato, now cost Rs5-10 per kg more. Fruit and sugar prices have swelled by Rs20 per kg and Rs10-20 per kg respectively. According to the Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market Development Board, the price of tomato has increased to Rs85 per kg from Rs75 per kg a week ago. Potato costs Rs73 per kg, up from Rs68.

Fruit prices have taken off too. The retail price of apple has gone up to Rs125 per kg from Rs115, pomegranate costs Rs205 per kg compared to Rs165 earlier, and orange costs Rs140 per kg, up from Rs115 last week, as per the board.

Bhanu Parajuli, president of the Nepal Livestock Traders Association, said the price of goat meat, one of the fast selling items during Dashain, had increased by Rs100 per kg this year compared to last year. According to him, goat meat now costs Rs1,000-1,050 per kg. “A rise in the cost price and additional taxes charged by local authorities are the main reasons behind the hike in prices,” Parajuli said.

Following the budget statement, the government imposed a 5 percent customs duty on imported goats. The federal government has asked local units not to levy extra charges, but the instruction is not being firmly implemented, said traders. “Local authorities refuse to waive local taxes on goat sales even through you show them a letter issued by the government,” Parajuli said.

Nepal Food Corporation has fixed the price of live goats at Rs510 per kg, up Rs25 per kg from last Dashain. Private traders are selling live goats at Rs550 per kg compared to Rs510 per kg last year.

Traders blamed the rise in prices to reduced domestic production and a jump in the cost price in India.

Mustard oil now costs up to Rs170 per litre, up from Rs150 earlier, while the price of flour has risen to Rs45-55 per kg from Rs38-48 per kg. The price of Indian Basmati rice has jumped by up to Rs80 per 20-kg sack.

Pabitra Bajracharya, president of the Nepal Retailers’ Association, said a stronger US dollar had sent prices of food items soaring. “Importers have also reported a hike in wheat prices of Rs3-5 per kg in the Indian market, and this has affected flour prices.”

With wheat becoming dearer, bread and semolina (suji) prices have also risen.

“Due to a rise in the price of raw materials, wholesalers have jacked up the price of suji by Rs10 per kg. Bakery products have also become dearer,” said Pawan Jajodiya, proprietor of Jajodiya Khadya Store at Gyaneshwor.

A rise in the price of vegetables has pushed up household expenses. Traders blamed a short supply of farm products for the price hike. “Demand for tomato has soared with the beginning of the festival season, and that has triggered a rise in prices,” said Geeta Neupane, a vegetable seller at Naxal. “There is a short supply of local potato as the harvest was poor this year.”

Published: 13-10-2018 08:46

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