KATHMANDU, May 27: Prices of dry fruits have gone up by 16 percent in the local market, as depreciation of Nepali rupee against the US dollar made them more expensive in the local market.
“Since almost all of the dry fruits available in the country are imported - payments of which are settled in the greenback - any rise or fall in value of the US dollar affects prices of these goods in the local market,” said Aajib Shrestha, proprietor of Indhira Masala Store at Ason, informing, most of the dry fruits are imported from India and Pakistan.
According to Aajib, the biggest customers of dry fruits in the country are hotels and restaurants. Individuals like Pramila Joshi, who was buying cashew and walnuts in Ason on Sunday when Republica caught up with her, are also good consumers of these fruits, but they form a minority as they munch through certain amount of these fruits everyday for nutritional values.
“Me and my family members take dry fruits to get a full range of health benefits,” she said.
However, customers like Joshi help perk up sales of various dry fruit stores during festivals like Dashai, Tihar, Lhosar, New Year and Christmas, when sales of these products usually swell.
“Among all the festivals, the demand for dry fruits reaches its peak during Tihar, when sales rise by more three-fold compared to other festivals,” said Arun Shrestha, proprietor of Arun Shrestha Store at Makhan Tole, who sells an average of about 20-25 kg of dry fruits per month.
Among a variety of dry fruits, traders said, demand for cashew nuts and almonds are usually high. Almond, for instance, is preferred by many because of its nutritious value as it is said to contain good amount of calories and protein. Almond was available for Rs 900 per kg on Sunday - up 28.5 percent from Rs 700 per kg last week.
Cashew and pistachio also became dearer this week, recording a hike of Rs 100 per kg to reach Rs 1,100 per kg on Sunday. Price of raisins also followed the same trend and went up by Rs 50 per kg on Sunday to stand at Rs 400 per kg.
Prices of other dry fruits, like dates, also propped up on Sunday, with white dates costing Rs 150 per kg, up Rs 30, and black dates valuing at Rs 120 per kg, up Rs 20. Likewise, walnut with shell became expensive by Rs 50 per kg on Sunday to reach Rs 550 per kg, while walnut without shell was available for Rs 1,400 per kg, up from Rs 1,300 last week.
Among others, clove posted a hike of Rs 200 per kg to stand at Rs 2,000 per kg on Sunday, while cardamom was priced at Rs 2,700 per kg from Rs 2,500 last week.