Nepalese wholesalers are pointing to the upcoming festival season and a weakening exchange rate for a spike in the country’s dried fruit and nut prices, according to the Republica newspaper.
Prices across the category have risen by 20 per cent over the last 10 months, with cashew, almond and pistachio prices rising by an average of more than Rs125 (US$1.2) per kg since November 2012.
The majority of dried fruits and nuts consumed in Nepal are imported from India and Europe. Ujjwal Hada, a dry fruit wholesaler in Indrachowk, told Republica foreign exporters were taking advantage of the increased consumer demand created around festival season, and the depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar over the last two months.
“It is natural for dry fruits prices to rise as the local currency is deprecating against US dollar,” Hada said. “But suppliers are arbitrarily raising the prices.”
Hada suggested the problem had been compounded by supply constraints this season.
“There is short supply of dry fruits in the market,” Hada said. “Importers do not supply us enough dry fruits even if we make full payment in advance.”