Thursday, 23 May, 2024
Thursday, 23 May, 2024
The Daily Post

Potato price rising due to storage

Staff Reporter

Potato price rising due to storage

Potatoes are usually cheap around this time of year. According to the analysis of the market price list dated May 9, 2021, 2022, and 2023 by the government agency Agriculture Marketing Department, potatoes ranged from a minimum of Tk22 to a maximum of Tk35 per kg. Now the price of that potato is Tk 50 to Tk 55. The price increase is 57 percent (pc) compared to last year.

It should be noted that Bangladesh does not import potatoes. According to the government, the production is more than the demand. The production cost of potato per kg is Tk 13. 90. According to the Directorate of Agricultural Marketing, the fair price in the market should be Tk 28.55. But it is being sold at a high price. Instead of controlling prices, the government is encouraging potato exports. 15 percent cash subsidy is also being given.

According to the report of the Department of Agriculture Marketing last Sunday, the reasonable price of domestic white potato at the wholesale level was Tk23.30. But in the wholesale market it was sold at the highest rate of Tk43 per kg. Tk 20 per kg is being kept higher than the reasonable price only in the wholesale market. This is affecting the retail level. Even in the peak season, the consumer has to pay Tk 50 to Tk 55 per kg of potato.

Not only wholesale, a DC report has come to the Ministry of Commerce that potatoes are being sold at twice the price of last year compared to last year. The DC report sent from Rangpur highlighted two reasons for the increase in prices. First, seasonal traders are buying and storing potatoes in the hope of higher profits. Secondly, storage costs are high as potatoes are bought and stored in cold storage. In this situation, the DC report sent to the Ministry of Commerce has warned that the price of potatoes may exceed Tk 50 kg in the future if planned measures are not taken.

According to Rangpur district administration, the storage capacity of 40 cold storages in Rangpur division is 4 lakh 22 thousand 538 metric tons. Till April 29, 3 lakh 25 thousand 3 metric tons of potatoes including food and seed potatoes have been stored in the cold storages. It is 52 lakh 368 bags. Last year, per sack of potatoes, the rent for cold storage was Tk 300, but this time it has been increased to Tk 385. Only the storage charge is increasing by 85 rupees per bag. The district administration mentioned in the letter that this will affect the price of potato.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mobaswer Hassan said in an interview that several factors are working behind the increase in the price of potatoes. In the first stage, the price of the vegetable is high even in the peak season as the farmer keeps the potato for some time. But now the farmer does not have more potatoes. Potatoes are coming out of the freezer. As a result, the price will drop very quickly. Deputy Commissioner of Rangpur expressed fear that after three to four months, the price of potatoes may increase if the government does not take the planned measures.

AHM Safikuzzaman, director general of the National Consumer Rights Protection Department, said that there is not much that can be done from Dhaka regarding the price increase. District administrators have already been instructed to prevent potato hoarding and excessive profit. If they do proper market monitoring at the local level as well as monitoring the release of potatoes from cold storage, supply to the wholesale market will increase. As supply increases, prices will decrease.

Mostafa Azad Chowdhury, president of Himagara Malik Samiti and former vice-president of FBCCI, said that after the arrival of new season potatoes in March, the prices suddenly increased. At that price, it is not possible to keep potatoes in the freezer and sell them at a lower price. It was then that the market needed to be intervened.

He said that a meeting was held in the Ministry of Commerce at the end of last April. It has been said by the government that 1 crore 4 lakh metric tons of potatoes have been produced in the last season. According to cold storage owners, it is not more than 7 million tonnes. The country needs 9 million tons of potatoes. As a result, there is a huge deficit. That is why the price is increasing.

Mustafa Azad Chowdhury also said that there is confusion in terms of demand and production. It is not possible to make a correct decision based on these statistics.