Volatile supply from India may hit Bangladesh potato price

October 30th, 2010 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Oct 30 (IANS) A “volatile” supply from India and a bad crop this year may lead to an increase in potato prices in Bangladesh ahead of the season approaching Bakr Eid, a media report said.

Prospects of a bad crop have sent the prices soaring by 50 percent in the last one week alone. But in this alarming situation, the main beneficiaries, at the cost of the public, are the cold storage owners and hoarders, the New Age newspaper said Saturday.

“Volatile” supply from neighbouring India has added to the uncertainty and allowed free play to cold storage owners and hoarders.

“The situation has not reached that level that there is no potato, but cashing in on fears of poor supply in the next few weeks, cold storage owners and hoarders are making windfall profits,” a wholesaler in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar said.

Early harvested potatoes usually start arriving in the market at the beginning of November and that forces release of more stocks from hoarders and eventually push down the price.

Market observers said a good harvest last year pushed down potato price even as cold storages had built up huge stocks.

All this is a far cry from the situation two years ago when Bangladesh had a record potato crop that necessitated exports.

And while the exports were picking up, the then army chief Gen Moin U. Ahmed launched a campaign on behalf of the caretaker government and called upon the people, for whom the staple diet is rice, to change their food habits.

There was not enough rice for everyone, he cautioned, as Bangladesh was then importing the commodity. Ahmed even launched “potato festivals” in luxury hotels where chefs prepared a variety of potato delicacies.

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