Floods in several states send potato prices up 3% in 14 days. The prices of potato have increased 3% due to floods in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. As a result, potato traders and farmers in Uttar Pradesh, the largest producer of the crop in the country, who were worried about surplus stock a month ago, are now confident of offloading the entire stock by November before the new crop arrives.
The state has produced 15.5 million tones of potatoes this year. Of this, 11.5 million tones were loaded in cold storages and the rest sold directly by farmers at the farm-gate level.
Only 30-35% of the crop from cold storages was used and there was a fear of another year of excess production,” said Arvind Agarwal, secretary of Cold Storage Associations of Uttar Pradesh.
“But the floods in central India, Maharashtra, eastern UP and more recently Bihar, have resulted in higher consumption of potatoes. This is because vegetables got damaged and people had to depend on potatoes for their daily cooking,” he said.
“We do not expect prices to move up significantly from this level. Our main concern is to clear the stocks before the new crop arrives in the market,” said Agarwal.
Prices of potato in West Bengal, the second largest producer of the crop, have not fallen though because rains in February had damaged a portion of the crop. The state has produced 9.5-10 million tones of potatoes this year, 1-1.5 million tones less than it did last year.
“Prices had fallen in June-July period but started moving up since the beginning of September and in one week they have moved up 3%.The festive season demand is expected to be good and prices may move up during that time,” said Patit Paban De, former president of West Bengal Cold Storage Association.