KATHMANDU, Oct 9: The prices of spices like cumin seeds, coriander and fenugreek seeds that are widely used during Dashain and Tihar have gone up by Rs 75-Rs 100 per kg in the market, adding pressure on the pockets of general consumers.
Prices of other spices that are not so commonly used, but preferred during the festive cooking such as cardamom, clove, white pepper, nutmeg, black pepper, coriander and bay leaf have also increased by Rs 100-Rs 500 per kg.
Wholesalers and retailers attributed the rise to increase in their prices in the source countries, mainly India, Japan and Australia, among others.
"The prices of major spices have jumped significantly in the international markets over the past month," said Sajeeb Bajracharya, sales executive of Bajracharya Store at Indra Chowk. "Whenever price rises in India by, say Rs 8 per kg, it becomes costlier in Nepal by around Rs 15 per kg," he added.
On Tuesday, retailers of spices in Ason and Indra Chowk areas were selling cumin seeds at Rs 250 per kg and coriander seeds at Rs 350 per kg. They were priced at Rs 150 and Rs 250 per kg till a month ago. Likewise, fenugreek seeds were traded at Rs 175 per kg on Tuesday, while a month ago it was priced at Rs 100 per kg.
Likewise, prices of cardamom, Jaipatri and nutmeg have increased by Rs 500 per kg each. On Tuesday, cardamom was priced at Rs 3,000 per kg, Jaipatri at Rs 2,000 and nutmeg at Rs 1,800 per kg.
Other popular spices such as clove and dry ginger have also become expensive by Rs 400 per kg each and are selling at Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,200 per kg respectively.
Nepal is highly dependent on imports for spices. It sources nutmeg from Macau, long pepper and cinnamon from Singapore, and clove, cumin and white pepper from South Africa. Dry ginger, red chilly and other spices are imported from India.
"People are not buying spices in large quantity because of the rise in prices. Consequently, we are seeing slowdown in sales even ahead of the major festivals," Binay Joshi of Tea and Spice Center, Ason, said.