Tomato retail price hits the roof at Rs 125 per kg in Kathmandu

- KRISHANA PRASAIN, Kathmandu

May 20, 2019-

Most of the vegetables prices in the Kathmandu valley have soared above the common man’s reach. And that has happened within a week.

Price of tomatoes, one of the most essential vegetables, which was priced at Rs105 per kg on Saturday spiked to Rs125 per kg on Sunday, as the local supply has run dry, traders said.

In the same period last year, the average retail price of tomato was Rs45 per kg. The prices of tomato had dropped to Rs30-35 per kg in January-February due to sufficient production.

Imports from India have also decreased due to the on-going general election there, they said. “It’s a historic high,” said Binaya Shrestha, deputy general manager at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Development Board Committee.

According to him, Bara and Parsa districts—the key supplier of tomatoes—were hit by a tornado, the first recorded wind-induced disaster of the country last April and the storm swept away the crop that were ready for harvest. “As the local supply has run dry, the price has gone up dramatically.”

Tomato is being mainly supplied from Lalbandi and Rautahat and rest of the demand was fulfilled by imports from India this season, said Resham Tamang, a vegetable trader, adding that as India has sealed its border for the general election, the prices of tomato sky have rocketed in the local market.

In terms of other vegetables prices, market watchers see no apparent reason for the steep price rise.

They said vegetable prices go up during the pre-monsoon and monsoon. But this time, hike has been steep, they said. Shrestha said while vegetable from the hilly region are yet to come in the market, imports from India due to the general election has also caused the demand and supply gap to widen in Nepal, eventually inflating prices of the daily essentials.

“We expect that the prices will cool down as soon as the production starts arriving in the market.”

According to Nepal Rastra Bank’s statistics, the country imported vegetables worth Rs11.54 billion in first nine of the current fiscal year, a jump of 34.4 percent compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year. According to Kalimati market, bitter gourd that cost Rs45 per kg a year ago now costs Rs75 per kg, a jump of 66.67 percent.

The price of eggplant [round] and [long] was available at Rs65 per kg on Sunday and the snake gourd was priced at Rs75 per kg. Luffa gourd was traded at Rs65 per kg, while okra cost Rs75 per kg.

Published: 20-05-2019 11:50

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