A sharp rise in onion prices in India makes them dearer in Nepal, who are unwilling to eat Chinese substitutes
Onion prices in Kathmandu have shot up to NPR 115 per kilo after the price of the vegetable rose in India. Nepal imports onions from its southern neighbour, and in the past week the price has jumped up by 35%.
The Director of the Department of Supplies Management, General Kumar Prasad Dahal said onions cost more because of a price rise in India. Nepal imports 90 percent of its requirement of onions. “During the market inspection conducted by the department last week, we found that there was no big difference in prices in Kathmandu and the Nepal-India border,” he said.
According to Dahal, the department focused on wholesale markets in Bhairahawa, Birgunj, Butwal, Nepalgunj and the Valley to compare prices. He added that higher domestic production and an integrated supply system was needed to maintain regular supply and price stability.
“Many farmers in districts such as Kavrepalanchok and Nuwakot have been selling their onions cheaply during the main harvesting season as they lacked warehouses to store their products,” he said.
The Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board cited higher prices in India for the price rise in the domestic market despite adequate supply. Narayan Rupakheti, an officer at the board, said the Kalimati Market had been receiving eight to 10 trucks of imported onions daily.
“As we are totally dependent on India for onions, a price rise there has a direct effect on the Nepali market,” Rupakheti said. He added that traders were reluctant to import onions from China due to their bland taste and poorer quality compared to the Indian product.
India is one of the main suppliers of onions in the South Asian market. An increase in prices causes worries all over South Asia.