February 22, 2011

Good harvest cools potato prices

20 Jan, 2011, 01.14AM IST, Sutanuka Ghosal & Madhvi Sally,ET Bureau

KOLKATA & CHANDIGARH: Though onion prices are yet to cool down, potato prices have dropped at the retail end. An early good crop of potatoes in Punjab, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh has pushed down the prices. While in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, mandi prices of the Pukhraj variety are hovering around Rs 2.50-2.75 per kg, the mandi price is about Rs 4 - 4.50 per kg in West Bengal. Potato prices in southern India are ruling at Rs 14-16 a kg.

According to industry officials, supplies will pick up by the second week of February across the main centres of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Sachid Madan, director, Technico Agri Sciences, a subsidiary of the cigarette-to-hotel major ITC, said potato production was likely to remain at 32 million tonne and prices would be firm. “Prices will correct when cold stores open by February,” he said while adding that the processing varieties will be harvested by the second week of February.

“The prices of processing varieties such as Chipsona and Lady Rosetta are ruling at `10 a kg in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh whereas in Uttar Pradesh the prices are at `6.5-7 a kg,” he said.

Bengal is expecting a 95-lakh-tonne production this year as well. “Weather has been favourable. Though the sowing area is slightly less this year, we expect production will be around 95 lakh tonnes,” said Sanatan Santra, president of West Bengal Progressive Potato Traders Association.

At a Ludhiana mandi, Rajesh Khanna, owner of Ramji Das Benarsi Das, said potato was sold for ` 6 a kg in January first week but the price has gradually fallen. On Wednesday, spot prices were quoted at `2.50-2.75 per kg for the early-crop Pukhraj variety. He added that prices were ruling at `4- 4.50 a kg in West Bengal and `4.50 at the Khandauli mandi in Agra.

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