Nepal: Dry season makes fruit, veg prices rise

Vegetable and fruit prices have jumped over the past month in the Kathmandu Valley as production has dropped sharply with the onset of the dry season.

Mustard leaves, potato, fenugreek leaves and local cauliflower have become costlier as deliveries have fallen. A drop in shipments has put upward pressure on prices of popular vegetables, officials of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market said.

“Production usually declines during the dry season causing significant changes in prices,” said Manoj Dhital, senior market officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board.

On Monday, local vendors were selling cauliflower at Rs75-85 per kg against Rs45 last month. Likewise, retail prices of red potato, fenugreek leaves and mustard leaves jumped 28.57 percent, 81.39 percent and 105.26 percent respectively over the past month.

Because of a significant drop in supply, almost all leafy vegetables like mustard greens, spinach, fenugreek leaves and garden cress saw an increase in retail prices by 80 to 100 percent, according to the board. Traders said that supplies had been hit hard by the dry season and that farmers in the hilly region had not seen even a little rain which had affected production.

“Farmers in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Dhading and Nuwakot have cut deliveries of leafy vegetables leading to a hike in prices,” said Bharat Khatiwada, a fresh vegetable trader at the Kalimati market. “The supply of essentials like tomato and potato is stable, but other vegetables are seeing a drop in shipments.”

According to Khatiwada, a supply of more than 1,000 tonnes can lead to a drop in prices and fulfil the valley’s daily requirement. However, shipments currently amount to 500 tonnes.

“Farmers in the main growing areas have been hit hard by last year’s earthquake, and they have not been able to reach their optimum production level. This has also affected supplies. Farmers in other hilly areas have been hit hard by drought.”
Meanwhile, popular summer fruits like pineapple, cucumber and carrot have also become dearer by Rs30, Rs15 and Rs50 per kg respectively.

The Kalimati and Balkhu markets account for more than 70 percent of the vegetables sold in the valley.

Source: kathmandupost.ekantipur.com

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