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Potato Prices in Nepal rise 50%, food supply endangered

October 20, 2009
In Nepal, the price of potato has increased by 50 per cent over the past one year, musuro by 30 per cent, black gram by 21 per cent, rice by three per cent and wheat flour by six per cent. The price of cooking oil has, however, reduced — by around 15 per cent.

“The prices of staple food items in Nepal have continued to increase steadily,” according to the monthly report jointly published by World Food Programme (WFP) — Food Security Monitoring and Analysis Unit, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives — Department of Agriculture, Agribusiness Promotion and Marketing Development  Directorate, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Consumer Interest Protection Forum.

Even now, the price hike has not cooled. It has continued to grow in comparison to a year ago — at the peak of the international food crisis.

The government of Nepal has indicated the need to import 400,000 tonnes of grain to meet the deficit caused by winter drought and late monsoon. However, reduced regional stocks are likely to significantly increase the cost of grain imports. The Indian border states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been declared drought-induced disaster areas by the Indian government,  making Nepal more vulnerable.

Late monsoon rain has led to flashfloods and landslides in districts of Western Nepal,  causing localised crop damage and blocking parts of Karnali Highway and other trails further  hindering food supply to many western hill and mountain districts.

Various mountain and hill markets have insufficient stock as a result of poor winter production and disruptions in commodity movement because of the monsoon.
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