Rangpur is the second largest district in the country in potato production. Every year the potatoes produced here are sent to different parts of the country to satisfy the demand of the district. That potato has now broken the record price in the retail market in Rangpur district. Potatoes are now selling at 60 to 80 taka per kg. As a result, there is discomfort in the market.
On Friday (November 3) morning, city market, station market, mordan mor market of Rangpur city were visited, potatoes are being sold at the lowest price of 60 taka to the highest price of 80 taka per kg. The skyrocketing price of potatoes in the market has gone beyond the purchasing power of consumers.
Talked to a buyer named Ashikur Rahman in the city market. He said, ‘We have the largest production of potatoes in this district. Still we do not understand why the price of potato is not decreasing. At the price of 5 kg of potatoes, not even one kg of potatoes can be found in the market. The government is announcing price controls, but that is now limited to announcements. It is no longer effective at the market level. There is nothing to do but get angry after buying a kilo of sheel potatoes at 80.’
Sheel potatoes are being sold at the retail level in all the raw markets of Rangpur like the city market at the rate of Tk 70-80 per kg, and cardinal potatoes at the rate of Tk 50-60 per kg. Almost all the buyers like Ashik are angry at this rising price of potatoes.
According to the information of Rangpur Agriculture Department, 53 thousand 305 hectares of land has been cultivated in this district in this season. Production has been 16 lakh 4 thousand 556 tons. Even if the annual food demand, seeds and shortages are excluded, there is a surplus of 13 lakh 16 thousand 392 tons of potatoes. Still, the potato market has been bullish since the beginning of the year. Buyers say that the government should take strict measures to control the rising prices of potatoes in the top producing districts.
Meanwhile, the administration has entered the field in Rangpur to ensure the price of potatoes at the fixed price at the cold storage level in order to implement the government’s instructions from November 1. This initiative is also not working even if the monitoring is done to ensure the fixed price by listing every cold store in the district. In order to control the price of potatoes, the hoarders suddenly fell under the supervision of the administration in Himagaras. That is why the sale of potatoes from the freezer is almost stopped now.
Yesterday Thursday morning, some cold storages of Rangpur were visited, two farmers were taking out seed potatoes from the cold storages. However, the wholesalers and traders there say that if the syndicate of hoarders is not broken, this initiative of the government will not bring any benefits.
Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer of Rangpur Sadar Upazila, AKM Morsheduzzaman, who is in charge of the city’s Rangpur cold store, said that the stores still have 10-15 percent of food potatoes stocked except for the base seed potatoes. We are constantly monitoring to ensure the fixed price given by the government for the sale of potatoes. However, under our supervision, the sales have decreased drastically. Farmers and traders say that all the potatoes stored in the freezer are foundation seeds.
Jahangir Alam, store keeper of a cold store in Rangpur, said, ‘Last week, potatoes were bought and sold at wholesale rates at Tk 42 to Tk 45 per kg in this cold store. Suddenly from November 1 under the supervision of government people in the cold storage. As a result, the stockists are no longer taking out the stored potatoes. As a result, there is a risk that the price of potatoes in the market will be more unstable due to artificial crisis.
Seasonal potato trader Amjad Hossain said that the price of potato was Tk 45 at the wholesale price last week as well. It was suddenly reduced by the government to 27 rupees. As a result, the stockholders will suffer a loss of Tk 15 to 18 per kg. Storekeepers are no longer taking potatoes out of freezers. Officially these supervision will be relaxed again after two or four days. If it is relaxed, the big hoarders will bring out potatoes again, then maybe we store traders will be able to sell. Besides, we have no business now.
On the other hand, to keep the price of potato bearable at the consumer level, potatoes are being sold in open trucks at Tk 35 per kg in Rangpur. District Administration and Potato Growers and Traders Association have taken this initiative. This program is also going on at upazila and union level along with city corporation. There is some relief among the consumers as potatoes are available at a low price, but it is also insufficient compared to the demand. And the raw markets are out of touch of fixed prices.
Deputy Commissioner of Rangpur, Mohammad Mobashwer Hasan said, ‘The market is being monitored along with the cold store to implement the price fixed by the government at the consumer level. In addition, TCB activities have been launched at district, upazila and union parishad levels. We are working to ensure that common people can buy potatoes at the right price.’