Fruits, veggies in short supply due to strikesIndefinite strikes launched by the United Democratic Madhesi Front in different parts of the Tarai protesting against the proposed federal set-up have led to a shortage of fruits and vegetables in the Kathmandu Valley.
Indefinite strikes launched by the United Democratic Madhesi Front in different parts of the Tarai protesting against the proposed federal set-up have led to a shortage of fruits and vegetables in the Kathmandu Valley.
Traders warned that consumers may face severe shortages of daily essentials like rice,
pulses and edible oil too if the protests continued. They said
that the protests that have been going on for the last two weeks show no signs of settling down anytime soon.
More than 3,600 vehicles bringing daily essential goods to Nepal from India have been stranded at various border points for the last two weeks. Traders said
that although a few trucks were escorted by security forces, demand has exceeded supply. Commodity prices have also started to jump in the valley.
“The market has already witnessed shortages of fruits due to the short supply,” said Amar Baniya, president of the Kuleshwor Fruits Wholesalers Association.
Baniya said that the fruits that had arrived were starting to rot as the shipments had been stranded for a long time. “As it took more than a week for the consignment to arrive in Kathmandu, around 25 percent of the fruits have decayed,” added Baniya.
Mahesh Basnet, secretary of the Kuleshwor Fruits Market, said that the supply of many fruits had dropped by 50 percent. The valley used to receive five to 10 truckloads of banana, but the supply has plunged to two trucks daily. Similarly, the market received 60 tonnes of apples on Tuesday, against the usual 100 tonnes, he said. With the unrest in the Western Tarai, shipments from Bhairahawa have also dropped significantly, said traders.
Prices of some fruits have started rising due to the short supply. The price of banana has increased to Rs90 per dozen from Rs70 per dozen in the retail market. Pear has also become dearer by Rs10 per kg to Rs35 per kg. The price of apple rose to Rs150 per kg against Rs120 per kg a week ago.
Onion shipments have also stopped for the last few days creating a shortage in the market. According to officials at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, only 10-20 tonnes of onions have been dispatched to the valley in the last three days, against the daily consignment of 70-80 tonnes. Due to the shortage in the market, prices of other vegetables have also gone up.