Agri Business

Potato turns cheaper as Bengal govt begins sale via fair price shops

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on December 03, 2020 Published on December 03, 2020

Prices likely to come down further on higher arrivals from neighbouring States

Potato prices in West Bengal, which had been on a firm note, are likely to crash as the State government has stepped up sale of the tuber through its network of fair price shops called Sufal Bangla.

The wholesale price of potato (Jyoti variety) firmed up by nearly 36 per cent to ₹3,600 a quintal in November this year as compared to same period last year.

In the wake of rising prices, the State Agriculture Marketing Department decided to sell its buffer stock at ₹25 a kg so as to discourage wholesalers and retailers from pushing the cost unusually. The State has a network of close to 250 Sufal Bangla shops.

According to Patit Pavan De, Member, West Bengal Cold Storage Association, the State government has been selling close to 7.5 lakh kg of potatoes everyday through its fair price shops. This has helped bring down prices in select markets.

“The government has its stock in cold storages, which it has been selling at these fair price shops. Prices have come down in some markets like Midnapore where it is down by almost 20 per cent in the last fortnight and is currently ruling at around ₹28-29 a kg (₹35-36),” De told BusinessLine.

Hooghly, Burdwan, Bankura, East Midnapore and West Midnapore are key growing districts.

Holding stock

This apart, the traders have been holding on to the stock in anticipation of a further price rise. Close to 6 lt are still being held by traders, which is 50 per cent more than four lakh tonne same period last year. This is likely to bring down the prices.

The total loading in cold storages this year was close to 55 lt. There are around 400 cold storages in Bengal and the total storage capacity is estimated to be close to 70 lt.

Moreover, the arrival of potatoes from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh is expected to start picking up.

Potato production is estimated to be higher across the key growing areas of UP, Punjab and Bengal this year as there has been an increase in area under cultivation.

There is estimated to be a five per cent increase in area under potato cultivation in Bengal as farmers have been encouraged by the higher prices the tuber fetched them for two consecutive years. Potato cultivation in Bengal is spread over close to 4.6 lakh hectares.

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Published on December 03, 2020
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