Bangladesh produced 1.09 crore tons potatoes against the maximum demands of 77 lakh tons this year
In the face of soaring prices of potatoes, the Department of Agricultural Marketing has directed all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) for taking steps so that potatoes are sold at Tk30 per kilogram. A kilogram of potatoes sold at Tk 55-60 at different kitchen markets in the capital yesterday.
On the other hand, at cold storage gates, per kg potato sold at Tk35, which was sold at Tk40 in the city’s Karwan Bazar wholesale market.
“Since the prices of potatoes have risen sharply in the kitchen market, we have directed all deputy commissioners for measures to ensure that potatoes are sold for not more than Tk30 per kilo at retail markets,” Mohammad Yousuf, director general of Department of Agricultural, told Dhaka Tribune.
As per the direction, per kg potato will be sold at Tk25 in the wholesale market and Tk23 at cold storage gate. This will be effective immediately across the country.
In the current year, Bangladesh produced 1.09 crore tons of potatoes against the maximum demand of 77 lakh tons. It means there is a surplus of over 30 lakh tons. So, there is no valid reason for the rise in price, said Yousuf.
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He also said different government agencies are monitoring the market and the prices will come down soon.
However, the cold storage owners are claiming that the prices of potatoes went up due to supply shortage.
They said due to lower prices of potatoes in the last two years, farmers cultivated less land this time, as such the production was less than the previous year.
As per the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association data, Bangladesh produced 85 lakh tons of potatoes in 2019, which was 1.20 crore tons in the previous year.
“As per our estimation, there is a shortage of about 10 lakh tons of potatoes than the demand. This is because of low yield as the farmers cultivated less lands than previous years as they got less prices,” Md. Mosharaf Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association told Dhaka Tribune.
On the other hand, a huge amount of potatoes were distributed among the poor people as relief during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Hossain.
On top of that, farmers could not cultivate potatoes, which was expected to enter the market in November and December due to flood in the Northern region of the country, he added.
In the given context, traders as well as farmers are not releasing potatoes in the market in the hope of getting better prices in the coming month, which is another reason for the supply shortage, he argued.