Price fall worries potato farmers, traders

OUR CORRESPONDENT, CUMILLA | Friday, 5 November 2021

The potato market in Cumilla's Daudkandi upazila has crashed following drastic price fall of the vegetable. Farmers and traders who have stored potatoes in cold storages are frustrated as they are not getting the desired price.

At present, wholesale price of a kg of potato is Tk 7 to 8. But in the corresponding period of last year, the wholesale price was Tk 20 per kg.

In the past years, farmers and traders used to sell potatoes stored in cold storage in Daudkandi Upazila from the beginning of November. They would benefit a lot due to good price. The people concerned think that the potato market has collapsed due to bumper production and plenty in supply.

Nasir Uddin, a wholesale potato trader from Kadiarbhanga village in the upazila, said he has kept 50,000 sacks of Malta and Diamond varieties of potato weighing 55 kg per sack in the local Nair Sarkar Ice and Cold Storage this year. It costs him Tk 990 a sack of potato weighing 55 kg which covers the cold-storage rent. But presently, a sack of potato weighing 55 kg is being sold between Tk 385 and Tk 400.

It means a trader is incurring a loss of Tk 590 to 605 per sack of potato.

Nasir Uddin, a wholesale potato trader, said, "The price of potatoes in the wholesale market last year was Tk 20 per kg while the retail price was Tk 30 to 35 per kg. As a result, traders made a lot of profit last year”.

Another trader, Mostaq Mia, said, "The farmers who sold potatoes after harvesting this year were the beneficiary ones but those who have stockpiled potatoes are the losers".

Farmers and traders said potato yields have improved this year. Due to bumper output more potatoes have been stored in the cold storage than the demand. In addition, it was not possible to sell potatoes stored in cold storages due to pandemic -induced closure of educational institutions, Lillah boarding of Qawmi Madrasa, halls and hotels and restaurants of universities and non-export.

Khokon Khandaker, office assistant at Sarkar Ice and Cold Storage, said, "Cold-storage owners are worried about lower potato prices this year. Many traders are not lifting potatoes on time. Cold-storage owners will have to count additional electricity bill".

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