Rajshahi: Despite the import from India, the price of potato is not decreasing. There are still about 750,000 sacks of potatoes in 36 cold storages in Rajshahi. However, even if the price does not decrease, the cold storages have started to empty.
1 thousand 996 metric tons of potatoes have arrived in the last one week through the Sonamsjid land port of Chapainawabganj. Another 26 thousand metric tons are waiting to arrive. Potatoes imported from India are now available in the market. Even after a week, the price has not decreased.
Meanwhile, there are still 48 thousand metric tons of potatoes in the cold storages of Rajshahi region. Even though large quantities of potatoes were stored in cold storages, traders were not selling them. Due to unscrupulous syndicates, the price of potatoes continues to rise. Three months ago, potatoes were sold at Tk 35 to Tk 40 per kg. Last week it increased by 60 taka per kg. After the price of various raw materials, this time the common buyers have been manipulated by the price of potatoes.
The Ministry of Commerce has ordered to sell potatoes in cold storage at 26 to 27 rupees per kg at the price fixed by the government. District Commissioners (DCs) have been instructed to implement this directive in the presence of a designated officer from last Wednesday (November 1).
The retail traders in the market of Rajshahi city said that the potato was not available in the market as required by the big potato traders who did not sell potatoes from the cold store. In the space of a month, the price of potato per kg has increased by Tk 10 to Tk 15 in the market.
According to Rajshahi District Agriculture Extension Department sources, Cardinal, Diamond and Aster varieties of potatoes are cultivated more in Rajshahi. Potato cultivation has been increasing since last few years. In the season of 2022-23, 36 thousand 615 hectares of land have been cultivated in the district. Which was 38 thousand 543 hectares last year. This time the amount of production has been estimated at 9 lakh 51 thousand 990 metric tons. Which was 10 lakh 20 thousand 231 metric tons last year.
Surplus potatoes produced in Rajshahi are sold in different districts of the country including Dhaka. Most of the marginal farmers in the area sell potatoes after production. And traders buy it and store it in the freezer. At present the farmers have no stock of potatoes. There was a limited supply of potatoes from cold stores. But as the supply is less than the demand, the price of potato continues to rise.
Department of Agriculture said that potatoes are being sold at Tk 43 per kg in Rajshahi by farmers and traders. Wholesale is being sold at Tk 43 per kg. It is being sold at 45 taka per kg. And at the retail level, potatoes are being sold at Tk 50 per kg.
There are 36 cold storage facilities in Rajshahi district. There are still 48 thousand 25 metric tons of potatoes in these cold storages. Potatoes are stocked in 60 kg sacks. As such, there are about 768,000 sacks stored in various cold storages in Rajshahi. However, the sale of these potatoes has started on the initiative of the administration.
This time, 1 thousand to 1 thousand 200 taka has been spent to store asteric, diamond and cardinal potatoes in the cold storage, including the rent of the cold storage room.
A potato trader, who did not wish to be named, said, ‘There have been losses for three years by storing potatoes in the freezer. Then none of us came to inquire. This time everyone started shouting as the price of potatoes was a little higher. But the price of other vegetables in the market is high. No one cares about him.’
The manager of a cold storage in Paba Upazila said, ‘Traders store more potatoes than farmers in the freezer. This time he did not fail. Potatoes have suffered losses in the last three years. Traders are expecting more profit as the market is good this time. So at the moment the traders do not want to sell potatoes. Every day a small amount of potatoes are being sold from the cold store.’
President of Rajshahi Cold Storage Owners Association Abu Bakkar said, ‘Now the cold storage has started to become empty. Traders are selling potatoes from cold storage. What potatoes are there will be gone by December or January. Then new potatoes will come again in February. Will be kept in the freezer from March.’
Rajshahi District Agricultural Marketing Assistant Director Afrin Hossain said, ‘I have come to know that there is still a huge stock of potatoes in Rajshahi district’s cold storages. I monitor the market regularly. I am also looking for the freezer. Potato prices have started to fall. Action will be taken if the traders try to raise the prices by syndicate.’
Mozdar Hossain, Deputy Director of Rajshahi District Agriculture Extension Department said, ‘The potato production in Rajshahi district remains even after meeting the demand. These potatoes are sent to various places including the capital. There is no shortage of potatoes. Traders buy potatoes from farmers. They store in the freezer.’
Rajshahi District Commissioner Shamim Ahmed said, ‘We are following the instructions given by the government. Government fixed price potatoes are being sold from cold storage. This season will pass with what is in store.’