Tomato and onion prices skyrocket

FCBL imports 45.650 MT of onions and 18.109 MT of tomato

The spike in the price of onion and tomato comes after the lockdown in the country.  The lockdown imposed in the country has affected vegetable supply, leading to a steep rise in price for onion and tomato.

Due to the huge increase in the prices of onions and tomatoes, the kitchen budget has gone haywire.  The modal price of tomatoes in Thimphu was Nu 70 per kg but has now jumped to Nu 106 per kg as per the MoAF price fixation however, many vegetable vendors were selling these two commodities at Nu 150 for onion and 180 to 200 per kg for tomato.

Choki Wangmo, a restaurant owner near centenary farmers market said that since there is limited supply of meat in the country the restaurants were facing difficulties and now the price for onion and tomato has shot up.

“For making momo there is a huge consumption of onion and the price for meat is already high and now the rate of onion is almost double compared to the rate before lockdown. It will be difficult for us to fix the price for our food,” she said.

 “Government intervention is a must here. They should look into it. The rates are unexpected and if this continues then we will be losing our customers since we have to increase the price for our dishes,” she said.

Sonam Wangmo, 30 said, “I came to buy onion and tomato after hearing that these two items has reached the market but the prices have doubled, its better to buy meat than purchasing these two items.”

A vegetable vendor near CFM said that tomatoes and onions  have turned costlier in the last few days as supplies have been impacted.

He said that they had to increase the price since the stock was limited and customers were looking for these two items desperately.

“We do not have any option since we received limited supply and many customers are looking for it and we are not able to give them all,” she said without explaining why she increased the prices so high.

Not only in Thimphu, onion and tomato prices have increased drastically across the country. According to the price fixation for tomato and onion by Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the price ranges from Nu 104 to Nu 116 for different dzongkhags and price for onion ranges from Nu 56 to Nu 70 per kg.

 Meanwhile, the Ministry is facilitating the import of onions and tomatoes through Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited. The FCBL is importing these two commodities from south India through Samtse and Gelephu.

FCBL has imported 45.650 metric tons of onions and 18.109 MT of tomato for distribution to Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Gelephu, Paro and Wangdiphodrang dzongkhags.

In order to prevent exorbitant rates charged by wholesalers and retailers, the Ministry has fixed the rates considering all related costs including operational cost, handling losses and overhead charges.

According to the Ministry, the landed costs are subject to change based on the procurement rate and transportation cost.

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