Agri Business

Potato prices on an upswing in Bengal retail markets

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on September 03, 2020

Steady demand pushes up rates despite increased availability from cold storages

Potato prices, particularly across various retail markets of West Bengal, are on an upward swing despite a higher-than-average release of the tuber from cold storages this year.

The wholesale prices of the common variety (Jyoti) have increased nearly 14 per cent and are currently hovering around ₹2,400-2,500 a quintal, against ₹2,200 less than a month ago. The retail price increased nearly 18 per cent to ₹32-33 a kg in end August, against ₹28 in mid-July.

According to Patit Pavan De, Member, West Bengal Cold Storage Association, close to 49 per cent of the potatoes kept in cold storages has been released till end August, as compared to the 46 per cent usually released.

“The price rise is despite a higher-than-usual release from cold storages this year and this is because of a steady demand for the tuber from both within and outside the State,” De told BusinessLine.

In a recent meeting with potato traders and cold storage owners, the West Bengal government asked traders to ensure that the retail price of the tuber is brought down to ₹25 a kg from the prevailing ₹32-34 a kg. The State government is set to review the situation in a week’s time and has also promised to measures to curb the price rise.

“The open market prices are increasing and so the government is advising (stakeholders) to keep the prices under control. But the price rise is more demand-driven and is not because of any hoarding. So it needs to be seen how the government will control the market forces,” he said.

Spurt in demand

There has been a steady spurt in potato consumption across States such as Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand due to the reverse migration of labourers. With the floods in Assam and Bihar rendering green vegetables more expensive, people are resorting to higher consumption of the tuber, industry insiders said.

The higher demand coupled with lower production of potato in some of the key producing States including West Bengal has led to the price rise.

Potato production in West Bengal has been lower than expected primarily due to the delayed sowing and the unfavourable weather conditions during harvest. The State, which produces 110-115 lakh tonnes of the tuber each year, is estimated to produce just 85-90 lakh tonnes this year. This is even lower than last year’s 92 lakh tonnes.

The loading in cold storages has also been lower as compared to last year with only 55 lakh tonne (approximately 79 per cent of the total capacity) of potatoes making its way to storage units. There are around 400 cold storages in Bengal and they are capable of storing close to 70 lakh tonnes of potatoes.

Published on September 03, 2020

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like