Agri Business

Huge stocks with growers may mash potato prices

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on November 12, 2017


Rates drop Rs 200/quintal since May-end

Glut and weak market sentiments may crush potato prices for the next one and a half months. According to cold storage owners, the current price is substantially lower than the loading price.

Quoted at Rs 580 a quintal in May-end, prices have come down by Rs 200 a quintal as on Monday. The slide has been particularly fast in the last few days when the wholesale price of the tuber (Jyoti variety) was down by Rs 100 a quintal from Rs 470 a quintal last week.

“There is a huge amount of stock in cold storages across the country. The sentiment is weak as there is anticipation that prices could fall further. So potato prices are showing a downtrend,” said Mr Ram Pada Pal, vice-president, West Bengal Cold Storage Association.

The ruling wholesale price is lower than the loading price of potatoes in the cold storage this year at Rs 460 a quintal.

“Buoyant conditions marked the beginning of this season. There was expectation of bagging some export orders from countries such as Russia and China where the production has been particularly low this year on account of heavy snowfall. Therefore, there was expectation that prices will inch up. This prompted the farmers to hold on to their produce,” said Mr Patit Paban De, Member, West Bengal Cold Storage Association.

Farmers have been holding on to 70 per cent of the total stock kept in cold storage this year at about 40 lakh tonnes. Close to 58 lakh tonnes of potatoes have been stored across various cold storages in West Bengal this year. “Typically farmers hold about 40 per cent of the stock produced, but this year they were holding on to higher amount of the stock in anticipation of better prices,” Mr De said.

The release of potatoes, which started in the first week of May, from cold storages in the State has been lower by about six per cent so far during this year, against same period last year. “The release will pick up during monsoons and this will bring down prices even further,” he said.

Going by this trend, the market fears that the prices could touch the low levels experienced in 2008. Potato prices had plunged to as low as Rs 200 a quintal in 2008 on account of bumper production of the crop.

Published on June 13, 2011

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