KATHMANDU: Tihar spices also known as ‘Bhai Masala’ generally get a good market during Tihar.
In Tihar, sisters offer many nutrient spices including walnuts, cashew nuts, and raisins to their brothers. So, the shops which sell such items are seen crowded few days before Tihar arrives.
Kathmandu’s Ason and Indrachowk are the sites many chose for the purchase of such goods and items.
However, the shopkeepers who sell such goods complain of bad days this year. They hold the dread of coronavirus pandemic transmission responsible for the decline in the sale.
The traders complain that the market has not got its former pattern back though it’s open almost after 6 months of lockdown and prohibitory orders issued to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 50% of the consumption of these nutrients is during Tihar, yet, retailer Ramesh Katuwal says with a sigh that there is no remarkable sale of these items this year.
“Out of the retail sale of these goods and items used in Bhaimasala in a year, 50%used to be during the Tihar period alone,” Katuwal said, “But this year is likely to be different. There is a thin visit of the customers. COVID-19 impacted the trade for more than 8 months, we hope a slight rise during Tihar.”
Generally, the price of goods goes high during the festive seasons, the businessmen also charge high from the customers. But, this time it’s different.
The shopkeepers claim that the goods and items are nearly 20% cheaper than in previous years.
Price deduction to enhance the sale
The officials at Nepal Retailers’ Trade Association claim that they have reduced the price of Bhaimasala as they want to clear the stock.
“Due to COVID-19, there has been no sale for nearly eight months,” Raj Kumar Shrestha, the President of the Association told Khabarhub, “The traders are selling at a low price, sometimes at the cost price as well since they want to clear the stock now.”
Shrestha pointed out that the items like cashews and raisins used to be consumed in sweet shops and party palace, but this time they are also adversely ridden by the pandemic.
“Due to COVID-19 the goods that used to be consumed at the sweet shops and party palace were not sold,” Shreshta added, “Realizing we have to clear the stock in Tihar even by reducing the price, we decided to sell at the purchased price.”
The Price list of the spices
According to the Retailers’ Association, the cashew nuts which cost Rs 1550-1700/kg are being sold at Rs 1450-1550/kg this year.
Likewise, the pistachio is available at Rs 1200/kg, raisin at 500/kg and coconut at Rs 400-450/kg in this Tihar.
The association informed that the price of dates is Rs 200/kg and clove at Rs 1300/kg now.
Likewise, the Indian nut is being sold at Rs 550-900/kg whereas Singapur nut’s price is fixed as Rs 400/kg.
The walnut price is around Rs 600-650/kg and figs cost Rs 1800/kg.
The traders claim that the cinnamon costs Rs 500/kg, sugar candy Rs 200/kg, apricot Rs 1000/kg, cardamom Rs 1200/kg and green cardamom Rs 4800- 5000/kg in the market.
According to the Association, the price list shows that the price is nearly 20% less than last year.