Potatoes are highly valued in the family of low income people. Especially when the prices of other vegetables in the market are out of control, then the potato is reliable. Now there is no way to buy those potatoes. Prices skyrocket.
Potatoes are now being sold at Tk. 40 per kg in the Dhaka market. In some markets, standard potatoes are also available at Tk. 35. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of potatoes is 67 percent higher than the same period last year. The company says the price of the product has risen 15 percent in one month.
Potatoes are usually in the market at Tk. 20 per kg after the start of the season. When stocks run out before winter, vendors sell at Tk. 30 per kg. This time the trend is different. The potato that entered the cold storage last March has gone up to Tk. 40 per kg in just four months. There are five more months left for the new season potatoes to come in full swing.
Potatoes are kept in cold storages at the end of the season in the country. Those potatoes are sold in the market throughout the year. Traders say potato production has declined last season. So the cold storage has been relatively low.
Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association, an association of cold storage owners, claimed that the price of potatoes was higher during the season this year. Potatoes kept in cold storage are priced at Tk. 18 to 20 per kg. Cost of keeping in cold storage is Tk. 22-23 per kg. He said the farmers have suffered losses for three years. As a result, planting was reduced last season. Yield has also been low. Mosharraf Hossain said about 30 lakh tonnes of potatoes are still stored in 310 cold storages in the country.
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has not yet finalized the amount of potatoes produced in the country last season. As a result, it is not known whether Mosharraf Hossain’s claim is correct.
According to BBS, the country produces 95 lakh to 1 crore tonnes of potatoes a year. The Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) says it has produced 1 crore 9 lakh tonnes of potatoes last season. However, the final calculation of potato production is done by BBS and DAE.
Mohammad Hanif, manager of the number 1 warehouse of the potato wholesaler in Karwan Bazar, also mentioned losses in 2 to 3 seasons. He said farmers and forias kept less potatoes in cold storage last season. The big businessmen have left more. They are now making huge profits on potatoes. He claimed that the cost of buying and storing these potatoes was around Tk. 12 per kg.
Potatoes were being sold at Tk. 30 per kg. Ordinary potato is Tk. 28 per kg. Adding commission, workers’ wages, transportation costs and deficit, the price of potato in the capital’s Kazipara market stands at Tk. 40 per kg.
Meanwhile, potato exports have also increased. In the fiscal year 2019-20, which ended last June, the export of potatoes was 2 crore 33 lakh US dollars, which is 86 percent more than the same period of the previous year. Traders say potato prices are much higher in India and Nepal. Due to this the value of Bangladeshi potato has increased. Bangladesh provides 20 percent cash subsidy on potato exports.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau, potato exports to Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Nepal and the Maldives have increased.
According to a report in India’s Anandabazar newspaper on Tuesday (August 11, 2020), the price of potato in West Bengal is Rs 28 to Rs 32 per kg, which is Tk. 32 to 36 in Bangladeshi currency. The state government could not control the price of potatoes even after fixing the price in the wholesale market 22 days ago.
According to the Nepali website ‘Kathmandu Today’, the price of potatoes in the wholesale market there is Tk. 37 to 38 in Bangladeshi currency.