Steady demand keeps Bengal potato prices buoyant

Potato prices in West Bengal have firmed up by nearly 44 per cent over the last two months on the back of steady demand from other States.

The wholesale price of the average quality (Jyoti variety) of the tuber is fetching close to 1,300 a quintal, compared with 900 a quintal in September. The wholesale price of the better quality variant (Chandramukhi potato) is selling at around 1,400 a quintal now, compared with 1,080 a quintal in September.

Firm demand

Bengal potatoes traditionally make way to the neighbouring Odisha, Bihar, Assam and some other North-East States. However, this time, a good quantity of the tuber is also moving to Andhra Pradesh and other southern markets, which have witnessed a drop in production due to crop damage, said Patit Pavan De, past president of West Bengal Cold Storage Association.

“Demand for Bengal potatoes continues to be firm, particularly because some southern crop got damaged this year. Moreover, some of the potato producing belt in northern India witnessed a delay in production due to weather conditions. This led to delayed arrivals in the market,” De told BusinessLine.

Cold storage release

Backed by the firm demand, cold storages have been able to offload close to 74 per cent of the stock kept in store houses so far this year. The figure was much lower at around 68 per cent same time last year.

West Bengal produced around 90-95 lakh tonnes of potato this year, as against around 100 lakh tonne in 2018. Close to 66 lakh tonnes were stored in the 400-odd cold storages spread across the State this year.

“Usually, by this time of the year, close to 70 per cent of the stock get released from cold storages. But this year, the release is close to 74 per cent due to firm demand. We expect almost the entire stock of potatoes to be out of cold storages by the end of November or early December,” he said.