Nepal imported fruits worth Rs7.58b in Q1

- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu
Fruits such as grape, banana, watermelon, papaya, guava, mango, kiwi, quince and pear are among the top imports

Nov 8, 2018-Nepal imported fresh fruits worth Rs7.58 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year, up from Rs4.74 billion in the same period last year, officials said. The rise in imports has been attributed to a slowdown in local production and swelling demand.

Apple, banana, pineapple, fig, guava, mango, orange, grape and kiwi make up most of the fruit imports. According to the statistics of the Department of Customs, fresh apples are the top import. Nepal imported apples valued at Rs1.66 billion during the review period. 

Fruits such as grape, banana, watermelon, papaya, guava, mango, kiwi, quince and pear are among the top imports. Nepal also imported avocado, fig, date and citrus fruits. Fresh fruits, in addition to dried fruits and sweets, are the fastest selling items during Tihar, the second largest festival of Hindus. 

Binod Raj Pandey, general secretary of the Fruits Wholesalers’ Association, said fruit imports during Tihar account for around 40 percent of the annual import bill. According to him, imported products account for 90 percent of the turnover during the festival. “Among them, banana, sweet orange and orange are among the popular domestic products.”

As per the department, Nepal imported fresh fruits worth Rs10.64 billion in 2017-18. The figure was Rs8.94 billion during 2016-17. Pandey said changing lifestyles and growing health consciousness among the people had led to a jump in demand for fruits. As per the association, demand is swelling by around 10 percent every year. “Imports drop during the winter with a fall in demand,” Pandey said. 

Nepal gets its apples from China, India, New Zealand and the US, with India and China being the major source countries. 

Other major fruits like banana, orange, grape, pomegranate and mango are mostly imported from India. 

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, apples are cultivated in 48 districts in the country. Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa and Kalikot districts account for 41.2 percent of the apples grown in the country. Nepali apples are available in the market only during the harvest season, which falls between mid-September and December, due to lack of proper storage facilities. 

Kavrepalanchok, Gorkha, Kaski and Syangja districts supply most of the oranges consumed in the country. Bananas mostly come from Chitwan. 

Published: 08-11-2018 08:07

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