New Delhi: Potato prices, which have risen by up to 45% in the last one month in retail markets across the country, might increase further in coming days on fears that output could be affected due to delayed monsoon.
“There are possibilities of further rise in prices of potatoes in the coming days as planting of tuber crop during kharif season has not yet begun because of delayed rains,” National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Additional Director Satish Bhonde said.
Bhonde noted that traders are increasing the price in anticipation that late monsoon may hit kharif potato crop.
The timely sowing of potato during kharif season (which starts from June) would have offset price rise, he added.
Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand are few states, where potato planting is done during Kharif season.
According to the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, potato prices have increased in the last one month to Rs14-16 per kg from Rs9-13 a kg in May, owing to lower production in the Rabi season.
Failure of crop in West Bengal, a key growing state, has accounted to a 20% decline in total country’s production to 25 million tonnes in 2009-09 from 30 million tonnes last year, according to NHRDF.
Bhonde further said that any increase in prices would further escalate production cost as seeds would also get expensive, making potato cultivation a costlier affair for farmers.
However, Jangbahadur Singh Sangh, a potato exporter from Punjab, discounted any impact of late rains on production vis-a-vis prices in the coming months saying that Kharif production contributes only 10% to the total output. Maximum of tuber crop comes from Rabi season.