Vegetable prices in the Kathmandu Valley have jumped over the week due to decreased supplies as farmers are busy planting rice in many regions of the country. Most wholesale markets in the valley like Kalimati, Balkhu and Tukucha have reported fall in supplies.
Wholesale prices of vegetables like tomato, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, cowpea, French bean, bitter gourd, smooth gourd, squash and ladies’ finger have jumped up to 141 percent in the last one week, according to the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesale Market.
The price of big tomato rose to Rs55 from Rs40 a week ago. Carrot, which was sold at Rs39 per kg one week ago, now costs Rs55 per kg. The price of cabbage increased to Rs33 per kg from Rs15. Cauliflower costs Rs55 per kg, up from Rs50 per kg.
The price of eggplant jumped to Rs38 from Rs28, while cowpea climbed to Rs45 per kg from Rs40. French bean rose to Rs65 per kg from Rs38, while bitter gourd now costs Rs41 per kg from to Rs17 before. Bottle gourd is sold at Rs38 per kg, up from Rs30.
The price of pointed gourd jumped 31 percent to Rs38 per kg from Rs29 in the wholesale market. Similarly, the price of ladies’ finger soared 44 percent to Rs55 per kg from Rs38 a week ago.
“With the start of the monsoon, farmers in the Tarai are busy planting rice. They have already harvested their vegetable crops, so there is a shortage in the market,” said Bharat Khatiwada, president of the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesalers Association. According to him, deliveries to Kalimati have fallen 15-20 percent over the week. The market has been receiving 600-650 tonnes of vegetables daily against 650-700 tonnes last week.
Khatiwada said that big tomatoes became dearer mainly because of rising demand. “Tomatoes produced by tunnel farming in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur are being shipped to other cities like Pokhara, Narayangadh and Butwal as consumers there prefer big tomatoes,” said Khatiwada.
According to Shyam Lamichhane, manager of the Balkhu Agriculture, Vegetables and Fruits Market, prices of most vegetables have gone up significantly. “The supply has gone down massively from the Tarai, and demand is being fulfilled by shipments from the hilly regions and India,” said Lamichhane. The Balkhu market has been receiving 400-450 tonnes of vegetables daily compared to 450-500 tonnes before.