KATHMANDU, June 12: Demand for juicy fruits has increased by about 25 percent this year, as more people are consuming fresh fruits juice to beat the summer heat.
Binod Raj Pandey, general secretary of Nepal Fruits Wholesalers and Traders Association (NFWTA) at Kuleshwar, said demand for fruits like pineapple, watermelon, banana, sugarcane, papaya, apple and grapes have increased compared to last year.
This year the Kuleshwar market is receiving about 12 tons of water melons, 20 tons of litchi, 10 tons of papaya, 75 tons of mangoes a day, according to Dipendra Shrestha, treasurer of the association. During summer last year, the market was receiving just 9 tons of watermelon and 3 tons of papaya every day.
Import of mangoes and litchi from India has come down, as local harvest is entering the Kuleshwar market in large quantity. Watermelons, however, are imported from Siliguri and New Delhi of India, while fruits like papaya, grapes and bananas come from different India cities.
Meanwhile, demand for fresh fruit juice has increased in the market. “I used to sell 50 glasses of sugarcane juice every day. Now, I am selling more than 100 glasses,” said Abadhlal shah, proprietor of Gupta Juice Store at Sundhara. According to him, watermelon and sugarcane juices are most popular among local customers.
Traders said the demand for watermelon has increased this year because mercury has not gone down due to delayed monsoon.
Bideshi Prasad, wholesaler at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market, said water melon is very sweet this year as monsoon has yet to begin. “I used to sell only around 2-3 tons of water melons last year. Now, I am selling as much as six tons a day,” added Prasad.
According to traders, sales of papaya and mango have also increased this year.
Water melons are currently available in the market at 18 to 20 per kg. Last year it was selling for around Rs 14 per kg.
Shrestha said demand for fruits has increased also because street vendors have started selling sliced fruits.