Home Uncategorized Potatoes are now costlier than rice
Uncategorized - 1 week ago

Potatoes are now costlier than rice

Kilogram Tk 60

Staff Correspondent: Just two years ago, on June 3, 2022, the price of per kg potatoin the country was Tk 18-22. A year ago on June 3, 2023, potato was Tk 36-40 per kg. And yesterday, the price of potatoes per kg was Tk 55-60. This information belongs to the government agency TCB. On the other hand, the information of the Department of Agricultural Marketing says that in 2022, the production of potatoes in the country is 1 crore 1 lakh 44 thousand 835 tons. Potato production in 2023 was 1 crore 4 lakh 31 thousand 736 tons. And in the current fiscal year 2023-24, the target of potato cultivation has been set at 1.16croremetric tons.
According to Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) data, the country’s annual demand for potatoes is 90-95 lakh tonnes. According to that, there is a surplus production of 10-15 lakh tonnes of potatoes against the demand in the country. In that case, the price of potatoes should be within the reach of the buyer without increasing, but in reality, the opposite is happening. In the history of the country, the price of one kg of potato has now exceeded Tk 60.
The price of one kg of coarse and medium quality rice is now below Tk 60. That is, now the price of potato is higher than rice in the country. A few days ago, when the price of rice was increasing abnormally, various quarters of the government were saying – reduce the pressure on rice, eat more potatoes. But now the opposite has happened. Even to buy a kg of potatoes, the buyer’s chest is shaking now. When the buyers go to the market and ask the price of potatoes, when the seller says, Tk 60 per kg – the buyer’s mouth unknowingly says – ‘Balai 60’.
Even two years ago, where the price of potato was completely within the reach of the buyer, the production has increased, there is a surplus of potato in the country than the demand – then why is the price of potato increasing so much? To find out the reason for this, the National Consumer Rights Protection Department, a government agency, recently conducted an investigation in the districts of high potato production. Under the leadership of AHM Shafiquzzaman, Director General of the organization, market supervision at producer level, forage level, cold store level and wholesale and retail level is also carried out in several districts.
After investigating, the agency mentions and recommends several reasons for the increase in potato prices. It is said that people who are not involved in potato production and business have been buying potatoes for the past few years.
Among them are government employees, political leaders and local influential people. They are controlling the potato market through cold storage slip trade. Even farmers’ loans for potato cultivation are going into the pockets of a class of syndicates.
All in all, the cost of potato per kg is Tk 20: According to the investigation report of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the cost of potato production, transportation, storage and everything in the country is the maximum Tk 20 per kg. Although these potatoes are sold at Tk 22 per kg from the freezing stage, the traders (agents and traders) make a profit. But currently potatoes are being sold at Tk 45-50 per kg from cold storage. That potato goes from the wholesale market to the retail trader’s hand and goes to the buyer’s bag for Tk 60. In other words, the potato syndicate is making a profit of Tk 40 on a potato of Tk 20. And most of the profits are going to the seasonal potato traders and owners of cold storages.
Farmers do not get loans: According to the investigation report of the Consumer Affairs Department, the agricultural loans allotted to farmers are not being received by real farmers. The cold store owners unethically collect agricultural loans from the banks and force them to sell potatoes at low prices during the potato production season through agents appointed by them. Thus, the farmers are becoming hostages in the hands of the cold store owners and their agents.
Potatoes bought from farmers at Tk 10-12: Investigation report states, cold store owners use money received from agents to purchase potatoes from farmers at low prices during the season and store them in cold stores. Many times, the advance loan money given by influential agents makes unethical investment forcing the farmer to sell potatoes from the land. Last season, farmers were forced to sell potatoes from the land for just Tk 10-12 per kg. Again, due to the local influence of the agents appointed by the cold storage authorities, many times the common farmer fails to store potatoes in the cold storage personally and is forced to approach the agents. And these cold storage agents directly control the price of potatoes.
Slip Trade in Cold Storage: It is known that the slips issued from the cold storage for potatoes stored in cold storage only mention the name of the farmer or storer and the number of bags of potatoes stored. Whoever has this slip is considered the owner of the potato. The freezer slip does not mention any address or mobile number of the potato storer, so that there is no trace of the actual person who bought the potato. It is not possible to get information about the actual owner by searching the slip. The majority of the potatoes have gone into the hands of the owners behind it and they are now controlling the potato market.
The leader of the cold storage owners also says there is no shortage of potatoes: Meanwhile, Bangladesh Cold Storage Association President Mostafa Azad Chowdhury told that the price of potatoes has increased to an unusual extent this year, which has exceeded Tk 60 per kg. This year the production of potato is less than the target but it is sufficient according to the demand and there is no shortage of potatoes. The price of potato should not be more than Tk 36-40 at the consumer or retail level. Still, I can’t find any exact reason why the price is going up so much.
Potato business is now not in the hands of real potato traders: Director General of National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate AHM Shafikuzzaman said in the light of time, potato business is now not in the hands of real potato traders, this is creating a crisis in the potato market. Now the price of potato is being increased by giving unreasonable reasons. There is no justification for increasing the price of potato as the quantity of potato produced against the demand is sufficient. There is no shortage of potatoes. Cold storage also now has sufficient stock of potatoes. Still, the price of potatoes is not decreasing. We are monitoring the market. However, importation of potatoes has been recommended to bring down the price of potatoes. The syndicate can be broken only if potatoes are imported.
Everyone is looting market as they wish: Eminent economist and executive director of Policy Research Institute Ahsan H. Mansoor said in the light of time, when the government information says that the production of potatoes in the country is much more than the demand, how is the potato market so chaotic. That means there is a problem here. Syndicates have formed in the potato market and they are increasing the price of potato. In fact, the situation is like this – consumer goods traders think that the country is full of mugs. So, everyone is looting by increasing the price of goods. There is no accountability in the market. The consumer goods market is like an orphan now – as if no one is watching.
Potato market under syndicate:Our Rangpur Correspondent, said that the price of cardinal potato has increased by Tk 20-25 per kg to Tk 55 at the beginning of June. On the other hand, Shil potato and other indigenous potatoes are being sold at Tk 70-75. Alhaj Mozaffar Hossain, a potato trader in Rangpur, complained that the situation has arisen due to the abnormal increase in the rent of cold storage in Rangpur region. In the whole country, the rent is Tk 180-220, but in Rangpur region, the rent is Tk 380-385.
President of Rangpur Metropolitan Chamber Rezaul Islam Milan said that currently the farmers do not have potatoes, the syndicate has taken control and he demanded a single rate in cold storage across the country through the government and district administration.
In Munshiganj, the price of potato has increased by Tk 6 in a month:Our MunshiganjCorrespondent said that the price of potato has increased by Tk 6 in Munshiganj in a month and a half. Low income people are suffering. A month and a half ago, a sack of potatoes (55 kg) cost retail traders Tk 2,310 to buy from cold storage at wholesale rates. The cost of buying potatoes per kg was Tk 42, selling price was Tk 45. Currently, one sack (55 kg) costs Tk 2,640. Wholesale price is Tk 48 per kg, sold at Tk 55. Potato seller in Munshiganjkitchen market Ahsan Ullah said, if the price of potatoes increases, we will have more problems. The customer has to be understood in many ways. Whether it increases or decreases, our profit remains the same.

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