Agri Business

Rains, festival demand push potato prices up by over ₹200 a quintal

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on October 20, 2021

Output in Bengal was up by 16 per cent at 110 lakh tonnes this year   -  Businessline

Rates in major growing States, Bengal and UP, top ₹1,200

Unseasonal rains and festival demand have pushed up prices of potato by ₹200-400 a quintal over the past month across key growing areas of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

Sowing of the early variety of tuber has been delayed in some of the growing regions due to rains, thereby pushing up prices.

The wholesale price of potato (Jyoti variety) in West Bengal is currently ruling at ₹1,200 a quintal compared with ₹900-1,000 a month ago. Prices in Uttar Pradesh are hovering in the range of ₹1,200-1,400 a quintal ( ₹800-1,000).

According to Arvind Agarwal, President of UP Cold Storage Association, the total production of the spud in UP is estimated to be up by nearly 30 per cent at around 1.3 crore tonnes in 2021 against close to one crore tonnes last year. Despite the higher production, prices are ruling firm due to unseasonal rains and robust demand.

Potato production in West Bengal was also higher by nearly 16 per cent at 110 lakh tonnes (lt) this year against 95 lt in 2020.

“Close to 60 per cent of stock from cold storage has been released so far compared with around 70 per cent during a normal year. Arrivals have been good, but prices have firmed up due to rains,” Agarwal told BusinessLine.

Prices to rule steady

Typically, close to 30 per cent of the stock is left in cold storages in UP around this time of the year. However, this year close to 40 per cent of potatoes is still lying in cold storages. Given that the production is also higher by around 30 per cent over last year, there is a good quantum of stock in cold storages.

“Farmers and traders have been holding on to their stock in anticipation of a further rise in prices. However, prices are not likely to increase further as we are still sitting on a good stock. They should try to exit at current levels as prices may inch down moving forward,” he said.

West Bengal, which had a higher production this year, loaded around 71 lt of potatoes in cold storages against 55 lt in 2020. Close to 30 per cent of stock is still lying in cold storages in the State.

The arrival of early variety (Pokhraj) potato is likely to be delayed by about a month due to late sowing.

“The early variety usually starts arriving by early December, but this year it is not likely to be available till the first week of January. There might be some drop in prices once the Puja demand is over but we do not expect a substantial crash,” Patit Paban De, former president of West Bengal Cold Storage Association, said.

Published on October 20, 2021

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