Import operations from abroad have started to rein in the suddenly unstable potato market. But the price has not yet reached the hands of the consumer. In the meantime, new potatoes have started coming to the market. But the price is sky high!
New potatoes are being sold at Tk 170-180 per kg in the retail market. Accordingly, the consumer has to pay Tk 12 to buy a new potato (15 per kg; Tk 180 per kg). And the old white potato is being sold at the price of 46, 48, 50 and some places at 55-60 taka per kg in the bazaar and manved. In this case, the consumer has to pay about 6 and a half taka to buy an old big potato (7-8 per kg; 50 taka per kg). Light red potatoes are being sold at Tk 80 per kg. At the same time, red small potatoes are also being sold at Tk 70-80 per kg.
In such a situation, middle class and lower middle class people are in trouble. Especially with the beginning of the winter season, new vegetables have appeared in the market. Despite the availability of new vegetables, prices are not decreasing. Along with other vegetables, there has been a kind of instability in the potato market for the last two-three months. A month and a half ago, the government fixed the retail price of potatoes at Tk 35 to Tk 36 per kg. After that, the price of the product did not decrease even after various measures. The Ministry of Commerce allowed the latest import of potatoes to keep prices up.
In this situation, there have been reports of visiting various raw markets including Newmarket, Azimpur, Palashi in the capital. Visiting various markets, most of the shops are selling old potatoes. As the price of new potatoes is high, buyers are not very interested. As a result, sellers are not stocking new potatoes. Old potatoes are seen in almost every shop in Newmarket’s Banlata Kachabazar market. Two or three stores have kept small quantities of new potatoes.
The sellers said that due to the sudden increase in the price of potatoes in the retail market, the buyers have already turned away. And the price of new potatoes is even higher. Potatoes are being sold in this place starting from 46 taka to 50 taka depending on the quality of the potato. But they also said that it is being sold at the price of 60 taka per kg in retail shops outside the market.
A potato trader in the market said, ‘The instability that has developed in the potato market would not have happened. If the government had announced the import of potatoes a month earlier, the market would have gone down further. The potato market has become unstable due to some unscrupulous traders and violence in cold storage. We sellers are quite helpless. It has to be bought in the wholesale market at an additional price. Which is affecting the retail market.’
Another businessman said, ‘Potatoes are running very low now. People are taking potatoes for hotel or mess. Besides, the regular customers who were for household consumption have reduced their potato intake. Winter is coming. Now the amount of vegetables will increase. Good vegetables are available at the price of potatoes. So people are leaning towards that. The way potatoes are being imported, the price seems to drop further this week.’
When talking to various buyers who came to the market, they say that there is nothing left for common people to eat. Alu bharta and dal-bhaa somehow filled the stomach. Now due to rise in price of potatoes that too has been closed.
A buyer named Shamim Ahmed said, ‘I have come to market for mess. Everything is expensive. Where earlier I could add two to three pieces of potato per millet in the curry, now it is difficult to add even one piece. If this situation continues, it will be very difficult for the poor people.’
Meanwhile, it is known that 1 lakh 62 thousand tons of potatoes have already been allowed to be imported. And after the permission, 2 thousand 700 tons of potatoes came to the country. This information was informed in a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday (November 6).