Early October rains caused a lot of issues for farmers across the country. The heavy untimely monsoon resulted in a massive surge in the prices of vegetables and fruits. Farmers struggled to produce vegetables to meet the demands causing prices to hike.
Monsoon, which usually ends in the month of September, continued till mid-October this year which destroyed fields of ready-to-be-harvested paddy and vegetables which caused price surges. “The rain ruined a lot of farms and ready to sell vegetables”, Sunil Mahat, a local vegetable vendor at Maitidevi says. “Traders themselves are hiking prices to make up for the loss of production”, he adds.
According to Binay Shrestha, spokesperson of Kalimati Fruits & Vegetable Market Development Board, a hike in the prices of vegetables after monsoon is very normal. “It highly depends on the amount of rainfall. If the rain causes a lot of damage to farmers, prices will naturally increase”, he says. “Transportation issues due to floods and landslides also play a role in the increase in prices”, he adds.
Similarly, prices of unseasonable fruits and vegetables also fluctuate due to lack of production. Rise in demand for vegetables and fruits, especially during festivities also cause a hike in prices. “Once the price increases, it takes time for it to fall back”, says Ravi Sah, a local vegetable vendor at Gaushala. “Hike in actual prices force us to keep very little profit margin for ourselves”, he says. “Business usually goes on a loss since most people are hesitant to spend much money as they did before the pandemic”, he adds.
Prices of vegetables like ladyfingers, asparagus, bitter gourd, spinach, etc. have increased in the last few weeks causing problems for consumers. Ladyfingers, which were being sold at Rs 40 per kg till the end of October now costs Rs 120 per kg. Similarly, local bean strings were sold in Rs 30 per kg now are Rs 100 per kg. Asparagus costs Rs 1100 at present; however it cost Rs 500 per kg last month.
Common products used in the kitchen regularly like tomatoes, garlic, and ginger also saw fluctuation in prices. Tomatoes which were being sold at Rs 38 last month now cost Rs 70. Likewise, some vegetables have become cheaper too. Chinese garlic which was sold at Rs 240 is being sold at Rs 230 per kg. Green onions are sold at Rs 90. It cost Rs 150 last month.
Hike in everyday consumption items has created problems for the common people. Rita KC, a resident of Baneshwor says, “It has become difficult to shop for vegetables these days. We do not have much money to spend due to the lockdowns”. “Hike in everyday requirements worries me”, she adds. According to Shrestha of Kalimati Fruits & Vegetable Market Development Board, prices might increase more for certain vegetables in the future, while others might take time to fall back.