Vegetable prices drop sharply in KathmanduCauliflower, a common winter season vegetable, was priced at a multi-year low of Rs15 per kg in the Kalimati fruits and vegetable market on Tuesday.
Vegetable prices at major wholesale markets in the Kathmandu Valley have started to drop amid low consumption following the end of the festival season, bringing relief to inflation-hit consumers.
The wholesale price of cauliflower (local) dropped to a multi-year low on Monday, traders say.
Cauliflower, one of the most common winter season vegetables, was priced at Rs15 per kg in the Kalimati fruits and vegetable market, the country’s biggest wholesale market.
Traders said the wholesale price of cauliflower declined by 48.28 percent compared to two weeks ago.
Similarly, the wholesale price of cauliflower local (jyapu) declined by 33.33 percent to Rs25 per kg.
“This is the lowest price in many years,” said Binay Shrestha, information officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board. “At this rate, the farmer will not be able to raise their cost of production.”
Cauliflower, however, costs Rs45 per kg in retail.
Some traders say that due to the bumper harvest of the vegetable this year, the market is flooded with cauliflower resulting in a sharp drop in rates.
But vegetable sales trends suggest that the wholesale price of most of the vegetables has dropped sharply this year.
The price of small tomatoes (local) has declined by 50 percent to Rs19 per kg, compared to the price two weeks ago. Similarly, the price of small tomatoes (grown in tunnels) also declined by 28.57 percent to Rs30 per kg.
“The prices of most of the seasonal vegetables have gone down sharply which suggests that consumption has reduced sharply in Kathmandu immediately after the end of the festive season,” Shrestha.
According to traders, hundreds of Nepalis who were mostly in Kathmandu to celebrate the Dashain festival left for their respective countries, where they have been working and living, and this mass departure also contributed to the dropped consumption of vegetables.
Vegetable prices keep fluctuating based on the season.
In June, a group of farmers had thrown around 90 tonnes of tomatoes on the road outside the Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market after not getting a fair price for the produce.
They had complained that prices had gone down due to the growing imports from the Indian markets.
The market price of Nepali tomatoes at the time was Rs35 per kg, while farmers received Rs10 per kg for their harvest.
After a month, in August, the wholesale price of tomato hit a record at Rs180 per kg owing to an acute shortage in the Indian market. Nepali tomatoes were supplied to the southern neighbour.
November is the key vegetable-producing month after farmers harvest paddy.
Shrestha, however, said that there were bumper harvests of vegetables in the past years too but prices had not come down to this year’s level.
The price of radish, green peas, French beans (rajma), round squash and broccoli—all have declined sharply within two weeks, according to the market data.
The wholesale price of radish declined by 54.55 percent to Rs25 per kg, while the price of French beans (rajma) decreased by 37.50 percent to Rs75 per kg.
Likewise, the price of round squash declined by 44.44 percent to Rs12.50 per kg and the price of broccoli decreased by 36.54 percent to Rs55 per kg.
According to the Kalimati fruits and vegetable market, the market received 565 tonnes of vegetables on Monday.
Shrestha said that the market normally used to receive 750 tonnes of vegetables during this time of the year.
“These statistics show that consumption has declined sharply despite the reopening of schools and colleges after two weeks of festive holidays,” said Shrestha.
The prices of cabbage (local), radish white (hybrid), brinjal (long, round), cowpea (long), cow pea (short), bottle gourd, squash (long), and lemon have also dropped.
Similarly, the prices of green chili (akbare) and capsicum have declined by 22.22 percent and 12.79 percent, respectively, compared to the prices two weeks ago.
Green chili (akbare) is priced at Rs175 per kg and capsicum at Rs75 per kg.
The wholesale prices of vegetables like tomato big (Indian), potato red (Indian), potato white, carrot (local), French bean (local and hybrid), sword bean, bitter gourd, pointed gourd (local and Terai-grown), smooth gourd, okra and green leaf vegetables, however, have risen slightly.
According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported vegetables worth Rs8.32 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year ended in mid-October.
The country exported vegetables worth Rs396.89 million in the review period.