December 14, 2023
DHAKA – Old and new potatoes are being sold at the same price in kitchen markets of several districts across Bangladesh, including Dhaka, according to traders.
Old and new potatoes are selling for about Tk 60 and Tk 70 per kilogramme (kg) respectively, leaving buyers frustrated, they said, adding that potato prices rose as fresh crops were damaged by recent rain.
Mohammad Zahid Uddin, a retailer at Duaripara Bazar in Dhaka’s Mirpur, said the price of old potatoes automatically decrease when new ones hit the market.
“But the situation is completely different now as I am selling old and new potatoes at the same price. After the recent rain, the price of potatoes in the wholesale market actually increased,” he added.
Mohammad Sabuj, a wholesaler at Karwan Bazar, one of the largest kitchen markets in Dhaka, said many farmers in the country suffered amid the recent rain.
Due to excessive rainfall, water accumulated in the potato fields, where farmers sowed seeds for the season starting from October.
So, many of the newly grown seed potatoes went rotten and as farmers were afraid of the resulting losses, they did not decrease the price of old potatoes, he added.
Data of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh shows that potato prices have increased by 75.44 percent over the past year.
Haji Awlad, a trader in Munshiganj, a major potato production hub in the country, said he brought new potatoes from Dhaka at Tk 62 per kg.
“But the price is even higher considering transport costs. So, we are selling new potatoes for Tk 70 per kg,” he added.
ABM Mizanul Haque, agriculture marketing officer of Munshiganj, also said potato prices have increased as fields under potato cultivation were damaged by the recent rain.
He said the price of potato was Tk 10 less than the current price prior to the rainfall brought about by Cyclone Michaung.
In Dinajpur and other surrounding districts, the prices of new and old potatoes have been the same at different kitchen markets for the last couple of days.
The price of new potatoes is Tk 50-55 per kg while that of old potatoes is Tk 50-60 in local markets.
Suman Mia, a wholesale potato trader of Railbazarhat in Dinajpur town, said the price of old potatoes usually goes down after the arrival of new potatoes, but things are different this year.
“An uneasy situation is prevailing in the potato market this year,” he added.
For example, the cultivation of early-season varieties of potato is always profitable for growers in Dinajpur and other districts but they are hardly getting the expected profit this year.
Jogendranath Roy, a farmer of Maljhar village under Biral upazila of Dinajpur, cultivated early-season varieties of potato on his one bigha of land.
Roy harvested the potatoes from one decimal of land on Monday and sold them at Tk 30 per kg from the field, which is almost half of what he got last year.
Md Nuruzzaman, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension in Dinajpur, said potato growers were panicked after the rainfall last week as it affected production.