By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, Jan. 14: People in the Kathmandu Valley are now busy purchasing yam of their choice, one of the widely eaten items during the Maghe Sankranti festival, which falls on Saturday this year. Almost a dozen varieties of yam are available in the retail market, with their prices ranging from Rs. 60 to Rs. 300 per kg. Prices of the roots vary based on their varieties.
Hattipaile, Ban Tarul, Seto Ghar Tarul, Pani Tarul, Iskusko Tarul (roots of squash), Patale Tarul and Rato Tarul are the main varieties of yams available in the local markets. Balaram Sharma, of Gatthaghar, Bhaktapur, said that he bought yam of different varieties including Patale, Hattipaile and root of squash worth Rs. 970 on Thursday. He, however, said that there was a huge difference in the prices of yams based on their varieties and high profit margins imposed by different retailers. The price per kg of yam stood at Rs. 60 to Rs. 250 in the retail market, he said, adding that Bantarul and root of squash were more expensive compared to other varieties of yams. The price of root of squash and Patale is Rs. 280 per kg.
Sarita Timalsina, who arrived in Tukacha from Baneshwor, said that she purchased different varieties of yams worth Rs. 1,050 Thursday to celebrate the festival. “I purchased 2 kilograms of Patale Tarul at Rs. 250 per kilogram, 3 kilograms of Hattipaile at Rs. 100 per kilogram and a kilogram of Ban Tarul at Rs. 250,” she told The Rising Nepal. A consumer normally buys around 2-5 kilograms of yam as per his or her choice and price, she said.
Trader at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Bhagawan Chandra Upreti said that the supply of yam has increased in the market since Sunday. The price of yams has been comparatively lower this year than last year because of reduced demand, he said, adding that yam has become cheaper by Rs. 10-15 per kilogram this year. Wholesale price of a kilogram Patale is at Rs. 140-150, Hattipaile at Rs. 90-100 and Seto Ghar Tarul at Rs. 100 and Pani Tarul at Rs. 80. Binaya Shrestha, information officer at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board, said that the transaction of yam has been increasing day by day for the last few days as it is the main season to consume the roots.
The domestic production of yam is enough to meet the demand of this season, he said, adding that more than 40 per cent of yam in Kathmandu is supplied from Sarlahi district and the remaining are supplied from other districts. Only 11 per cent yam, mostly squash roots, arrives from India, he said. Around 150 tonnes of yams are being supplied from various districts daily, including Sarlahi, Sunsari, Dolakha, Palpa, Dhading, Ilam, Dhankuta, Kavrepalanchowk and other Terai districts to the Kathmandu Valley for the last three days.
“About 1,229 tonnes of yam entered the Kalimati market in the month of Poush as of Thursday afternoon. Meantime, around 293 tonnes of cocoyam and 198 tonnes of sweet potatoes entered the Kalimati market during that period,” he said.