Potato arrivals have begun to pick up in most markets across the country, easing prices after showing a rising trend last month. As a result, the decision to import around 25,000 tonne of potato through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) has been put on hold, senior officials of the federation said.
Last month, the government had decided to import potatoes from Europe and asked Nafed and the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) to explore opportunities. Potatoes are being sold at around R2,072 per quintal in New Delhi compared to R1,563 per quintal during the same period last year, an increase of nearly 33%.
Nafed member Nanasaheb Patil said that there had been a hold on the process because of falling domestic prices. The price of potatoes in the international market is higher than in India, he explained.
According to National Horticulture Research Development Foundation (NHRDF) director RP Gupta, potato arrivals have increased in most markets and the rates have come down as well. “Sowing for the coming season’s crop had been progressing well. Both the area under cultivation and the output are expected to surpass last year’s 46 metric tonne. The quality of production has been good this year and total production is likely to increase by 5-10%. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haraya are the main markets for potatoes,” said Gupta.
As per NHRDF data, potato arrivals increased to 21,954 quintal in November end from 13,765 quintal at the start of the month and modal prices as well fell from R2,675 per quintal to R1,405 per quintal. China is the world’s largest producer at 120 metric tonne annual output.
According to Vegetable Growers Association of India president Shriram Gadhave, the consumption has increased and the yield has been less. Normal production in Maharashtra may fall by 50% this year, he said.