Nepal ready to supply tomatoes to India, seeks easy market access

While Nepal has already initiated tomato exports to India via official channels in the past week, the quantities remain modest and hence unable to meet demands

Tomatoes Nepal

Kathmandu/New Delhi: Retail prices of tomatoes in India may come down if the Central government agrees to Nepal’s proposal for providing easy market access and other essential facilities for the bulk export.

Retail prices of tomatoes have shot up to around ₹250 per kg owing to its critical shortage in the Indian vegetable markets. Heavy rains and disruptions in supply chain due to transportation issues are being attributed to the unprecedented increase in the tomatoes prices.

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Officials of Nepal said that the Himanayan country is prepared to address the soaring tomato prices in India by offering bulk exports on a long-term basis, provided they (Nepal) is granted easy market access and essential facilities as prerequisites for this initiative.

Nepal’s assurance to bulk supply the tomatoes followed a statement by India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who disclosed that India has begun importing tomatoes from Nepal due to record-high prices caused by supply disruptions from heavy rains. Highest ever retail prices of tomatoes has forced India to import tomatoes for the first time amid supply disruptions caused by heavy rains.

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“Nepal is keen to export vegetables, particularly tomatoes, to India over the long term. However, this endeavour is contingent upon India providing straightforward market access and necessary facilities,” said Shabnam Shivakoti, spokesperson for Nepal’s agriculture ministry on Friday.

While Nepal has already initiated tomato exports to India via official channels in the past week, the quantities remain modest. Plans for larger-scale exports are still in progress. “If we are provided with easy access to the Indian market, Nepal can export huge quantities of tomatoes to India,” said Binaya Shrestha, deputy director at Kalimati Fruits and Vegetable Market Development Board.

Tomatoes are grown abundantly in the Kathmandu Valley’s districts—Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur—exceeding local demand. Though some tomatoes from Kathmandu are being unofficially exported to India, Shrestha acknowledged, a recent trend has seen substantial exports through informal channels, causing shortages and price spikes in the local market.

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