Uttar Pradesh’s loss has largely been West Bengal’s gain in terms of selling potatoes to other states this year.

Bengal is currently witnessing higher consumption of its potatoes by other States such as Odisha, Assam and Andhra Pradesh as prices of the tuber from Uttar Pradesh are ruling higher.

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“Every year Bengal’s potato growers sell potatoes to Odisha, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. This year we are selling more potatoes to these three States compared to last year. As the prices of UP’s potatoes are higher compared to last year, these States are buying less potatoes from there. Prices of Bengal’s potatoes have remained more or less the same,” West Bengal Cold Storage Association senior official Patit Paban De told businessline. Uttar Pradesh is the largest potato-growing State of the country.

West Bengal generally sells around 40 per cent of its total potato production to the other States. During 2022-23, potato was cultivated on 4.60 lakh hectares in Bengal, the country’s second largest potato-growing State, and total production was around 100 lakh tonnes, which was higher than that in 2021-22.

At Kolkata markets, wholesale prices of the spud have currently been hovering around ₹11-13 per kg — almost the same as last year.

Maintenance cost

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Cold Storage Association is planning to convene a general meeting on February 24 to take a “final decision” as it has not so far received any information from the State government on the revision of the rental charges for storage of potatoes. The association has long been demanding that the government should increase rental charges for storage of potatoes immediately, stating that cold storage operators are incurring substantial losses as the government has not revised rents for the last two years.

Also read: Bengal Cold Storage Association seeks hike in rental charges for potato storage

According to association officials, a government-appointed expert committee suggested raising rental charges in early 2023 to account for rising input, repair, maintenance, and labour costs for cold storages.

However, the government’s lack of action has left the cold storage industry in dire straits.