KATHMANDU, Sept 26: Inspection teams recently deputed by the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) to three major vegetables supplier districts have reckoned unfair play by the retailers as one major factor behind the recent rise in vegetable prices.
The teams have reported that the average farm gate prices have dropped by an average of 5.9 percent this season, compared to last year, whereas retailers are selling them at prices three-fold of what farmers were paid for the supply, Prabhakar Pathak, joint secretary at the MoAD told Republica.
Responding to growing complaints from general consumers over the ballooning prices of vegetables in retail markets, the MoAD had fanned out the teams to Dhading, Kavre and Makawanpur districts that are the major sources of vegetables for the capital.
The teams have visited the vegetable farms in Charaudi of Dhading, Panchkhal of Kavre and Palung of Makawanpur recently.
According to Pathak, the prices of major vegetables declined by 7.5 per cent and 10 percent in Dhading, and Makawanpur compared to last year´s price. However, average price of vegetables remained unchanged over the year in Kavre.
Reports state cowpea, beans and bitter gourd were sold by farmers at Rs 15, Rs 16 and Rs 12 per kg in Charaudi to traders. However, retailers were found to have sold cowpea and beans at Rs 55 each and bitter guards at Rs 45 per kg after buying these products at Rs 16, Rs 24 and Rs 24 per kg respectively from wholesalers at Kalimati market.
Pointed gourd and tomatoes which were sold at Rs 15 and Rs 25 per kg in the farms in Panchkhal were priced at Rs 45 and Rs 55 per kg respectively by retailers. They had purchased pointed gourd and tomatoes at Rs 14 and Rs 30 per kg from wholesalers respectively.
Similarly, red-potatoes and cabbages and sold by Palung farmers at Rs 15, Rs 11 and Rs 18 per kg were found to have priced by retailers in the capital at Rs 45 and Rs 35 per kg. Purchase prices of red-potatoes and cabbages by retailers from wholesalers in Kalimati were Rs 30 and Rs 18 per kg respectively.
"While analyzing the price phenomenon, we found the need to focus on retail markets to control the skyrocketing prices of vegetables as retailers are found to have jacked up the prices disproportionately compared to the purchase price”," said Pathak.
He also said MoAD was planning to depute another teams to take account of the price situation in other source districts soon.
"We will take appropriate step to tame the soaring vegetable prices once the teams submit their reports," said Pathak.