Potato prices drop on falling demand

The ongoing lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease has affected demand for potato, leading to a fall in prices of the tuber, one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the country.

Prices of potato were Tk 20-Tk 25 each kilogramme yesterday in Dhaka, down 8 per cent from Tk 24-Tk 25 a month ago.

The current price is 31 per cent less than the Tk 30-Tk 35 per kilogramme a year ago, shows data compiled by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

Because of the price fall for the lockdown and other factors, potato is not being released from cold storages, said Bangladesh Cold Storage Association (BCSA).

Both farmers and cold storage owners are frustrated for this, said BCSA President Mosharaf Hossain in a letter to the ministries of agriculture, food, commerce and disaster management, calling for distributing potato under social safety net schemes.

Potato production rose 10 per cent year-on-year to 1.06 crore tonnes in fiscal 2020-21, shows data from the Department of Agricultural Extension and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

The BCSA said annual demand for potato was 90 lakh tonnes, and 55 lakh tonnes of the vegetable have been stored in the cold storages.

The association said only four months remain before the arrival of fresh harvests by the end of this year and 20 lakh tonnes remain as surplus.

A huge amount of potato would remain unsold unless those can be marketed, it said.

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