Veggie prices jump as heavy rain takes its tollThe average wholesale prices of vegetables jumped 69 percent last month in the Kathmandu Valley compared to the same period last year, largely due to heavy downpours in key vegetable producing areas that slashed supplies.
The average wholesale prices of vegetables jumped 69 percent last month in the Kathmandu Valley compared to the same period last year, largely due to heavy downpours in key vegetable producing areas that slashed supplies.
Traders said that prices normally rise during the rainy season as harvesting of some vegetables is delayed due to waterlogged fields. Moreover, farmers are busy transplanting paddy during this time of the year, resulting in lower production and supplies.
Prices of vegetables such as big tomato, red and white potato, onion dry, cabbage, local cauliflower, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, mushroom and capsicum are up more than 200 percent year-on-year. The average wholesale price of cabbage increased threefold from Rs17 per kg last year to Rs52 per kg this year.
Similarly, the price of big tomato rose from Rs42 per kg to Rs56 per kg. Capsicum which was being sold for Rs67 per kg last year now costs Rs81 per kg. Likewise, the price of bitter gourd increased 29 percent to Rs41 per kg.
According to Binaya Shrestha, deputy director of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, landslides and floods have not affected the supply of vegetables. However, with the monsoon getting stronger resulting in flash floods and landslides, the highways could be closed and hit deliveries. Traders said that prices go through the roof in the Valley when highways are obstructed.
Shrestha said that prices of onion and potato had swelled due to a fall in domestic production and imports. The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market, the largest vegetable market in the country, is currently receiving around 650 tonnes of vegetables daily.
Currently, local vegetable production has been fulfilling the market requirement. The Valley gets most of its vegetable supplies from Kavrepalanchok, Dhading, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Bhaktapur and Sindhupalchok during the monsoon season.
According to Shrestha, 99 percent of the onions and lemons sold in Kathmandu are imported from India. He said that prices were expected to come down as seasonal vegetables have started arriving in the market. “Vegetables are seasonal, so prices change according to supply and demand.”
PRICES COMPARED (in Rs/kg)
Commodity 2017/June 2018/June Changes (in %)
Tomato Big 43 57 33
Potato Red 24 35 42
Potato White 18 31 70
Onion Dry 24 33 41
Cabbage 17 52 206
Cauliflower Local 65 71 8
Bitter Gourd 32 41 29
Pointed Gourd 32 45 40
Mushroom 177 187 5
Capsicum 67 81 21
Source: Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market