Potato and chilli prices go through the roof

Potato prices has now shot up to Nu 90 to 100 per kilogram (kg) and small hot chilli is at Nu 600 per kg in the city areas, adding to the woes of the consumers who are battered with rocketing price trends already seen in the onion and tomato prices.

Potato was available at Nu 35 to Nu 50 per kg just a few weeks ago, however, the price has now doubled in the market. While the prices of tomato and onion in retail market have jumped to Nu 140 per kg and Nu 120 per kg after the lockdown.

According to the vegetable vendors, the reason for the hike in the prices is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and since there is no import of vegetables, the supply has become limited.

A vendor at the Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM), Dema, said that the prices have doubled from the source itself.

“We bought the potatoes at Nu 80 to Nu 90 per kg. We do not have any other option than to sell at Nu 100 per kg. Because of the pandemic, there is no vegetable import, and the local produce are sold at higher rates,” she said.

She said that vendors rush in to by whatever produce is available nowadays since there is no import of vegetables in the country.

Another vendor also said that the price of small sized hot variety of chilies has also doubled and it is now sold at Nu 600 per kg.

“We are not the one who fixes the prices, we get all these produce from the middlemen, and they said that the price has increased due to the pandemic,” she said, adding that the chilies are brought from Tsirang, Punakha and Wangdue.

Dorji, 29, said, “Customers walk away when they hear about the price of potato. They get shocked and some even complain that the prices are too high. It’s better to consume meat rather than vegetables.”

Sonam Rigzin, a resident of Thimphu said potato is a main ingredient in dishes eaten by a lot of people. With the prices of potato and chilli shooting through the roof, it will be difficult for the common people to afford them.

“It’s okay if they’d slightly increased the prices of vegetables. We know that everyone has been affected by the pandemic, but the prices has doubled and it is worrying,” he said.

Tshewang, 32, also said, “It is very expensive to buy vegetables, it’s beyond what I can afford. We understand that there is a limited supply but the prices have gone too far.”

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Office of Consumer Protection  (OCP) said not a single compliant regarding the hike in the prices of potato and chili has been lodged with the OCP at the moment.

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