Veggie prices drop on increased shipmentsVegetable prices in the major wholesale markets in the Kathmandu valley have started to drop due to an increase in shipments from adjoining areas, traders said.
Vegetable prices in the major wholesale markets in the Kathmandu valley have started to drop due to an increase in shipments from adjoining areas, traders said. Long-running strikes in the Tarai belt had affected supplies from key producing areas, pushing up prices sharply in the last three weeks.
Traders said that improved supplies of fresh produce from Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kavre and Dhading had provided a big respite to Kathmanduites. Major wholesale markets like Kalimati and Balkhu have reported an increase in supplies.
Although potato and onion prices are still on the high side, other vegetables like tomato, egg plant, French bean, squash and snake gourd have become cheaper by up to 36 percent over the week.
The price of tomato has
dropped Rs20 per kg within a week in the wholesale market. Small tomato cost Rs35 per kg on Thursday compared to Rs55 a week ago at Kalimati.
Retailers are now selling tomato at Rs45-Rs50 per kg. “With the favourable weather in the Kathmandu valley and surrounding areas, tomato production has increased,” said Khojraj Katuwal, president of the Nepal Tunnel Farmers Association.
Tomatoes produced by tunnel farming in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur were being shipped to markets like Chitwan, Narayanghat, Biratnagar and Butwal; but supplies have been disrupted lately due to lack of transportation. “So the stocks intended for dispatch are being sold in the Kathmandu valley.”
Meanwhile, traders said that the supply of other vegetables had also increased. According to officials of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, 550-600 tonnes of vegetables and fruits have been arriving in the market daily, against the average 400 tonnes last week.
Similarly, the Balkhu Agriculture, Vegetables and Fruits Market is receiving 450-500 tonnes daily.
The wholesale price of egg plant dropped to Rs18 per kg from Rs25 a week ago. French bean costs Rs34 per kg, down from Rs55 per kg. The price of cow pea decreased to Rs45 from Rs55, while squash now costs Rs35 per kg compared to Rs45 before.
Onion prices have also dropped slightly due to a fall in demand as customers found the vegetable too dear after import prices shot up along with a slump in output in India, the largest supplier to Nepal. Onions cost Rs102 per kg on Thursday against Rs108 last week.
Traders said that slowed demand from retailers and consumers had also affected prices besides an increase in the supply.
“As prices of almost all the vegetables were high till last week, retailers started buying less due to fears of being left with unsold stock. So the low demand has been reflected in a drop in prices,” said Bharat Khatiwada, president of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesalers’ Association.
Shyam Lamichhane, manager of the Balkhu Market said, “Most hawkers from the Tarai regions have been stranded at their homes due to the strike. That has also affected demand for vegetables in the wholesale markets.”