Fruit prices soar by over 100 percent in KathmanduGovernment has not conducted a single market inspection of fruit markets in the Capital.
Fruit prices have skyrocketed in Kathmandu due to a lack of government inspections during the festive season.
With the festive season in full swing, opportunist traders are hiking prices safe in the knowledge that the government will not conduct any market inspection in the fruit markets. As most of the fruits being sold during the festival time are imported, traders have been hiking the price.
According to Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board, the prices of apple, banana, pomegranate, pineapple, sweet orange, and pear local have jumped sharply within a year.
The average retail price of apple (jholey) which cost Rs115 per kg a year before now retails for Rs235 per kg, a jump of 104 percent. Likewise, pomegranate which was traded at Rs165 per kg now costs Rs345 per kg, a sharp jump of 109 percent within a year.
Banana has also become dearer by 40 percent costing Rs105 a dozen which was Rs75 a dozen a year before. Similarly, sweet orange price has seen prices rise 15 percent. The price of pear (local) has also become dearer by 36 percent trading at Rs75 per kg while pineapple is priced at Rs125 per piece, higher by 9 percent.
Lack of market inspection in fruit markets during festival time is the main reason for the sharp rise in prices. Despite the government’s commitment to tackle price hikes and malpractices in the market, consumers continue to be left disappointed year after year.
Yogendra Gauchan, director general of the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection Management said the department is focused mostly on inspecting food and meat items and garment, as the consumption of these goods is high, he said. Gauchan suggested that prices went up due to government policy on pesticide tests as well.
But consumers continues to be the biggest loser year after year, especially this Dashain with market inflation causing prices of essential goods to become dearer.
Shyam Prasad Lamichanne, manager at Balkhu Fruits and Vegetables Market said that prices have been hiked due to the lack of government concern in the fruit markets, giving opportunist traders free reign in fixing their own prices.
Gauchan said that it not possible to control the price in the retail base as the department has limited resources. “It is the responsibility of the local level to conduct market inspection on a micro-level basis,” he said, then only will it help to manage the price uncertainty.
Apple, banana, and pomegranate are most consumed fruits during Dashain. People buy these fruits while visiting relatives or to use as offerings to the goddess Durga during 10 days of Dashain puja.
According to the current macroeconomic statistics of Nepal Rastra Bank, the country imported fruits worth Rs981 million from mid-July to mid-August. Fruit traders said that almost 90 percent of all fruits are imported from India and China.