May 15: The import of food grains has increased drastically in the past seven weeks of lockdown. Data maintained by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies indicate that import of food grains has skyrocketed in the last seven weeks since the lockdown started.
According to a report published by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, altogether 13,343 tons of food grains were imported during the first week of the lockdown. However, the import increased in the second week. Nepal imported 14,643 tons of food grains in the second week of the lockdown.
The import amount was up drastically to 31,441 tons in the fifth week. However, the import declined down in the sixth and seventh weeks of the lockdown. The imports declined to 28,526 tons and 25,805 tons, respectively during the sixth and seventh weeks of the lockdown.
Netra Prasad Subedi, director general of the Department of Supplies informed that the increase in import during the lockdown is normal.
He informed that it was natural for imports to increase as shipments were not affected by the lockdown and stocks of goods in the market were running out.
Avinash Bohara, central member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), also expressed similar opinion.
He said that the import increased because consumers stockpiled food products more than required, fearing the possibility of food crisis.
"The increase in imports can also be attributed to the increase in relief programmes," he added.
The import of food grains has increased by 93.4 percent and pulses by 26.2 percent in seventh week of the lockdown in comparison to the first week.
The import of vegetables and fruits also has increased by 25 percent and 61.3 percent respectively. Likewise, import of dairy products inclined up by 514.3 percent during the same period.