Indian limes dominate market despite rise in local production
KATHMANDU, June 3: Though arrival of locally produced limes doubled in Kalimati vegetables market over the past year, the dominance of Indian limes is increasing in the Nepali market thanks to weak distribution network.
Supplies of domestic limes in Kalimati market increased to 18 tons in 2010/11, up from 10 tons recorded in 2009/10. Despite rise in domestic production, Nepal imported 217 tons more limes from India in 2010/11.
Chut Raj Gurung, program director of Fruit Development Directorate (FDD), Kirtipur, said the country imported 1,957 tons of limes from India during fiscal year 2010/11, compared to 1,740 tons recorded in 2009/10.
Data compiled by FDD shows that total production of lime across the country in 2010/11 was 22,571 tons, up from 22,399 recorded in preceding fiscal year.
“Large quantity of locally produced limes didn´t arrive at the Kalimati market due to weak distribution network,” said Gurung.
Taking into consideration low production and weak distribution network, the government is planning to encourage farmers in Tehrathum, Bhojpur and Dhankuta districts toward commercial lime farming.
“We are hopeful that the supply of local limes in major vegetables markets across the country will increase with the commercialization of lime farming in these districts,” said Gurung.
Rajendra Prasad, a wholesaler of lime at Kalimati market, said more than 95 percent of limes consumed in the Kalimati market come from India. The southern neighbor is fulfilling more than 95 percent of domestic lime demand for more than a decade, despite rise in local production.
According to Prasad, average daily demand for lime hovers around 11 tons.
Jhapa, Dang, Rasuwa, Ramechhap and Kavre are key lime producing districts in the country, according to Gurung.
Binay Shrestha, senior planning officer of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB), is skeptical about commercial of lime farming.
“Commercialization of lime farming is difficult. Most of the farmers are not interested toward this fruit due to lower rater of return compared to other cash crops,” Shrestha said.