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Indian potato prices up as drop in production faces increased demand

Potato prices have surged more than 62 per cent since May as production fell in key growing states and demand soared amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Traders in Uttar Pradesh, the largest potato producer in the country, claim prices will remain firm at least till March next year.

The demand for potatoes has been rising during the pandemic as the tuber can be stored longer than other vegetables. In West Bengal, the second largest producer, prices have shot up to Rs 26-28 per kg in the wholesale market from Rs 16-18 in May. Retail prices are ruling at Rs 32-35 a kg in the state. Price is following the same trend in Uttar Pradesh as well.

Uttar Pradesh has produced around 12.4 million tonnes of potato this year as against 15.5 million tonnes in 2019. quoted Arvind Agarwal, president of Cold Storage Association of Uttar Pradesh, as saying: “This year, the crop is down by 20 per cent than last year. So, there is a shortage in supply. The demand has gone up across all the states due to lockdown.”

Agarwal added that the rise in prices has brought some cheer to farmers. “Farmers of Uttar Pradesh had suffered for four consecutive years as they had to sell potatoes below their cost of production. They are at least recovering some of their losses,” he said.

[ Rs 100 = €1.20 ]

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