Potato prices in Bengal likely to ease to ₹20-21 per kilo this week

Potato prices in Bengal likely to ease to ₹20-21 per kilo this week
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Kolkata, Potato prices, which soared by 30-40 per cent to Rs 24-25 for the 'Jyoti' variety in the last fortnight due to reasons like lower crop yield and shortage of labourers during Holi holidays, are expected to ease to Rs 20-21 a kg in a week, according to an official. 'Jyoti' and its variants are mass-selling varieties, while the premium 'Chandramukhi' variety rose to Rs 30.

Local shopkeepers and markets attributed the price rise of potatoes to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

It is commonly understood that during elections, traders have to contribute donations to political parties, which are then passed on to customers. Industry officials, however, ruled out this rationale.

"I think from next week onward, the price of potatoes should gradually go down to Rs 20-21 a kg. There had been an acute shortage of labourers due to the Holi holidays, and there had been some loss of crops due to sudden rain, which led to the rise," West Bengal Vendors' Association president Kamal Dey told PTI.

He said that 80 per cent of the labourers needed for loading and unloading are migrants who return home during the Holi festival but will begin to return this week.


Patit Paban De, senior member of the West Bengal Cold Storage Association, said there will be an estimated 10 per cent lower production of tubers, given the trend and reports of loading of crops in cold storages.

"Till now, loading is only between 70-75 per cent on average. At the maximum, loading will not cross 80 per cent at best given the trend. Last year loading was 88-89 per cent," he said.

He said that the wholesale price in the Hooghly district market is Rs 16 a kg, and under no circumstances should the price be over Rs 22/kg in retail markets of Kolkata.

De said that production in both Purba and Paschim Bardhaman and Purba Medinipur districts faced low production due to untimely rain in December and then late blight disease.

However, the crop in Hooghly was good, which helped offset the tentative production loss in Bengal to an estimated 10 per cent. Otherwise, production would have been lower by 20-30 per cent, he said.

Dey said a lot of potatoes sold in the market as 'Jyoti' are hybrid and other varieties that look similar.

According to the Department of Agriculture's first advance estimates of output, onion and potato production are expected to be lower in the 2023-24 crop year.

National potato production for 2023-24 is expected to be around 58.99 million tonnes, slightly lower than the previous year's production of approximately 60.14 million tonnes, it said.