Greedy retailers, short supply push veg price unbearably high

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, May 19: Owing to the lack of vegetable market monitoring, consumers have been compelled to purchase vegetables paying more than double the prices from the retail shops.
The retailers are selling vegetables charging almost hundred per cent high prices citing that the price of vegetables has increased in the wholesale market, said Ramita Adhikari, consumer of Thimi, Bhaktapur.
“Due to lack of marketing monitoring from the concerned bodies, the consumers are being cheated by the retailers,” she said.
“I buy a kilogram of tomatoes paying Rs. 110, beans Rs. 77, okra Rs. 80, and cauliflower Rs. 85,” she said.
She blamed that the retailers raised the price of vegetables even when there was a slight increase in the prices in the wholesale market. The retailers don’t reduce their prices even when the prices decline in the wholesale market.
Binaya Shrestha, information officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board, said that the price of vegetables increased in the Kathmandu Valley due to short supply as compared to their demand.
He said that the storm and rainfall at various parts of the country affected the vegetable farms which led to a decrease in their supply, resulting in the skyrocketing of prices in the Valley.
“Comparatively, the price of tomatoes has increased noticeably and crossed over Rs. 100 per kilogram in the wholesale market,” Shrestha said.
High demand of tomatoes due to wedding season has caused the increase in the prices of tomatoes across the country, he said, adding that around 120 tons of tomatoes is being supplied to the Kalimati market daily.
According to Bhagawan Chandra Upreti, a wholesale of Kalimati Market, the price of vegetables, especially tomatoes and cauliflower, started to decline from Friday following resumption of supply from India.
The price of tomatoes which had reached at Rs. 100 per kilogram in the wholesale market two days ago, reduced to Rs. 80 per kilogram on Saturday.
The wholesale price of per kilogram of cauliflower is Rs. 60, cabbage Rs. 15, carrot at Rs. 45, brinjal Rs. 55, radish Rs. 40, beans Rs. 55, better gourd Rs. 55 and Okra at Rs. 50, he said.
He, however, said that price of vegetables in the retail market could not decline in line with the wholesale market due to high profit margin of the retailers.
Raj Kumar Shrestha, a vegetable retailer at Gatthaghar, said that the price of vegetables has increased significantly for the last one week due to short supply of vegetables in the Kathmandu Valley.
“I am selling a kilogram of tomatoes at Rs. 100, beans at Rs. 70 per kilogram, cabbage at Rs. 30 per kilogram, pumpkin at Rs. 60 today,” he said.
He said that the price of tomatoes declined to Rs. 100 per kilogram today which was Rs. 120 per kilogram two days ago.
Director of the Department of Commerce, Supply and Protection of Consumers Raghunath Mahat said that the department was planning to monitor the vegetable market with the coordination of Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development at the earliest.
“We have received the information about the skyrocketing price of tomatoes in retail market compared to wholesale market. But we did not start monitoring due to lack of monitoring team. However, we will inspect the market soon,” Mahat said.
Policy regarding the monitoring and taking action against the wrongdoers is still unclear, which has created a problem for the authority, he said.

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