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Potato prices soar amid drop in manufacturing, increase in demand


KOLKATA: Potato prices have surged greater than 62 per cent since Might as manufacturing fell in key rising states and demand soared amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Merchants in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest potato producer in the nation, stated prices will stay agency no less than until March subsequent 12 months.

Demand for potato, a staple for Indian kitchens, has been rising through the pandemic because the tuber will be saved longer than different greens.

In West Bengal, the second largest producer, prices have shot as much as Rs 26-28 per kg in the wholesale market from Rs 16-18 in Might. Retail prices are ruling at Rs 32-35 a kg in the state. Worth is following the identical pattern in Uttar Pradesh as effectively.

“This 12 months, the crop is down by 20 per cent than final 12 months. So, there’s a scarcity in provide,” Arvind Agarwal, president of Chilly Storage Affiliation of Uttar Pradesh, instructed ET. “The demand has gone up throughout all of the states attributable to lockdown.”

Uttar Pradesh has produced round 12.four million tonnes of potato this 12 months as towards 15.5 million tonnes in 2019.

Agarwal stated the rise in prices has introduced some cheer to farmers. “Farmers of Uttar Pradesh had suffered for 4 consecutive years as they needed to promote potatoes beneath their price of manufacturing. They’re no less than recovering a few of their losses,” he stated.

Based on Agarwal, prices will stay agency until subsequent March. “The sowing for the brand new season crop will probably be delayed by 15 days. Usually, sowing begins by finish of October. However this 12 months, sowing is predicted to start by mid-November,” he stated.

Merchants stated implementation of the Farming Produce Commerce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance has additionally pushed up the prices of the vegetable. The ordinance, which seeks to make sure a barrier-free trade in agriculture produce, got here in power in June.

Farmers in Uttar Pradesh stated seed prices have gone up by one-and-a-half occasions since final 12 months, which can have an effect on the manufacturing in the upcoming sowing season as their price of sowing will go up. “Since shopping for seeds is changing into troublesome for us, the acreage is predicted to return down. Manufacturing may come down,” stated Raman Singh, a potato farmer in Agra.

Crop dimension in West Bengal too has come down to eight.5- 9 million tonnes this 12 months from 11 million tonnes final 12 months.

“Now we have a chilly storage capability for 71 lakh tonnes. However this 12 months, we’ve got solely loaded 56 lakh tonnes,” stated Patit Paban De, member of West Bengal Chilly Storage Affiliation. “Of this, 30 lakh tonnes have already been bought and we’re left with 26 lakh tonnes. The brand new crop will come in December-January. Until then we’ve got to handle with the present inventory. Subsequently, prices is not going to fall instantly.”

West Bengal is flooded with orders from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and northeastern states. Although the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee has directed potato merchants to make sure that the retail value of the tuber is introduced right down to Rs 25 a kg, merchants stated it’s inconceivable in this barrier-free trade regime.

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