Potato prices come down in Bengal

September 3rd, 2012 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 3 (IANS) Potatoe prices, which had skyrocketed in July following low production, came down by an average of 18 percent in West Bengal retail markets in September after cold storage owners increased the volume of release, giving much-needed relief to consumers.

The state government’s decision to restrict potato sales outside the state from Aug 1, followed by the recent ban on the launch of new potato contracts by the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), has also helped prices of the tuber cool down.

Cold storage owners of the state Monday assured the government that the hike in the release of the staple vegetable would be maintained to ensure that the current prices be stabilised.

At present, prices of the tuber are ruling at Rs.10 to Rs.11 a kg in the wholesale markets, while it is being sold at Rs.13 to Rs.14 per kg in the retail markets.

“The prices of potato came down following rise in the volume of release from cold storages across the state in July and August. On an average we had been releasing 10 percent to 11 percent of our total stocks in a month. But following the steep rise in the prices, we started to release 13 percent of the stock per month in the consecutive two months,” West Bengal Cold Storage Association member Patit Paban De told IANS.

Potatoes were being sold in the range of Rs.16 to Rs.17 per kg in the retail markets two months ago.

“We assured the government that we will keep on releasing 13 percent of the total stock every month to see that the current prices prevail in the markets,” De said.

According to him, there are a 418 cold storages for potatoes in the state, which loaded 5.1 million tonnes of the tuber this year.

De, however, ruled out further decline in prices till November.

Prices of the humble potato, the common man’s staple vegetable, witnessed a steep rise both in the wholesale as well as retail markets in West Bengal, the second largest producer of the tuber after Uttar Pradesh.

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