With the festival of Tihar underway, fruit prices are continuing to rise at major Nepalese wholesale markets in Kalimati, Balkhu and Kuleshwor. This is primarily due to rising transportation charges.
Fruits such as banana and pomegranate have become costlier over a month. The wholesale price of banana has increased by 31 percent within a month. Banana which used to cost Rs65 per kg (€0.49) has hit Rs 85 per kg (€0.64). Similarly, the price of pomegranate has gone up, increasing by 40 percent; pomegranate which cost Rs125 per kg (€0.94) a month ago was priced at Rs175 (€1.31) on Tuesday.
During the festival season, the demand for fruits normally surges by 50 percent and consumers are compelled to pay inflated prices.
While most fruits have seen their prices spike, apple prices have not increased too much. According to traders, apple prices have remained relatively stable as there are various types of apples in the market. An apple is priced based on the quality of the fruit.
During the festival period, the Kathmandu Valley consumes nearly 700 tonnes of fruits daily. To meet this demand, the Valley supplies 1,200 tonnes of fruits per day, said Ram Krishna Kunwar, executive director of Nepal Fruits Wholesalers Association.
According to kathmandupost.ekantipur.com, almost 90 percent of the fruit is imported from India and China, said Tamang. Fuji apples are imported from China while fruits like banana, pomegranate, sweet orange and papaya, are imported from India.