KATHMANDU, May 18: Although the prices of major vegetables at wholesale market have gone up only nominally, retailers are forcing consumers to pay much higher price (than the wholesale rate), citing banda and difficulties they faced in transporting vegetables to the retail stores.
Data of Kalimati wholesale market shows, prices of most consumed vegetables on Friday remained higher by Rs 3 to 12 per kg than last week. But retailers said the prices of the same vegetables have increased in range of Rs 10 to 30 per kg.
"If we compare the pricing structure, retailers are presently selling vegetables at rates that are almost 40 percent higher over wholesale rates," said Bharat Khatiwada, president of Kalimati Vegetable Market Traders Association. He attributed such huge differences between retail and wholesale rates to lack of proper mechanism and policy on fixing of prices. “Traders fix the prices themselves and there is no authority to monitor the prices. No wonder consumers are at loss,” said Khatiwada.
A comparative study of average prices of major vegetables at wholesale and retail markets revealed that retailers on Friday made consumers pay higher on items like tomatoes, peas, cabbage, pumpkin, green beans, lady´s finger, eggplant, bottle gourd, radish, cucumber and carrot.
For instance, green peas on Friday was priced Rs 40 per kg at the wholesale market, while it was priced Rs 70 per kg in the retail market. Though wholesalers supplied cabbage at Rs 24 per kg, retailers forced consumers pay Rs 30 for it. Similarly, green beans and white radish, which were available at Rs 38 per kg and Rs 19 per kg at the wholesale market, cost consumers Rs 50 and Rs 35 respectively in the retail market.
Wholesale price of lady´s finger and cucumber were Rs 35 and Rs 40 per kg respectively, but in the retail outlets they were sold at as high as Rs 60 and Rs 50 per kg respectively. Pumpkin, eggplant and bottle gourd which cost Rs 20, 22 and 29 per kg respectively in the wholesale market were priced Rs 35, Rs 40 and Rs 40 per kg respectively in retail markets.
Jit Bahadur Khatri, a vegetable vendor at Maitidevi, admitted that prices of vegetables are higher in the retail market as vendors had to bring vegetables to their shop from the wholesale market by paying higher transportation cost due to banda.
“Besides, we have to bear loss as vegetables rot quickly and we cannot open shops throughout the day due to strike,” Khatri said, adding, “We are forced to sell vegetables at higher prices to make up for the loss.”