Potato prices in the wholesale markets have witnessed a sharp increase in the last two to three weeks amid spoilage fears due to pre-monsoon rains followed by summer heat across major cultivating regions.
Large stocks were ruined in transit due to thunderstorm and rainfalls in the north and the north-east states, resulting in fewer kilos of potatoes at mandis. Also, during this time around, wholesalers and cold storage keepers normally build their inventory for supply in the lean season at higher prices. Thus, the overall demand for potato remains firm, trade sources told Business Standard.
Data compiled by the Nashik-based National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) showed potato prices have shot up by 85.5% in the wholesale market to trade at Rs 10.20 a kg in Kolkata compared to Rs 5.50 a kg towards the end of March 2019.
Similarly, potato prices have jumped 29% in Mumbai to trade at Rs 13.50 a kg now from Rs 10.50 a kg three weeks ago.
The Union Ministry of Agriculture in its first Advanced Estimate has forecast India’s potato output at 52.59 million tonnes for 2018-19 compared to 51.31 million tonnes and 48.61 million tonnes in 2017-18 and 2016-17, respectively. The increase in potato output was forecast based on the proportionate rise in its acreage to 2.18 million hectare (ha) in 2018-19 versus 2.14 million ha and 2.18 million ha in the previous two respective years.