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 Buscador de Noticias
Asia 16/02/2024

Bangladesh: Consumers pay 150% higher than potato production cost

Although the production cost of potato is Tk 16 per kg, consumers have to buy it at Tk 36-40 per kg which is 150 per cent higher than the production cost. It means that traders earn a profit of Tk 20-24 per kg.

On average, the farmers get Tk 4 out of Tk 24 profit per kg and the rest of profits go to middlemen’s pockets, which is four times higher than that of the farmers.

According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data, the prices of potatoes increased by 50 per cent compared to last year.

Visiting various kitchen markets in Dhaka, local new potato and imported white potato are being sold at Tk 35-40 per kg, which was Tk 45-50 per kg a week ago.

According to Department of Agriculture and Marketing (DAM), potatoes were sold at Tk 30-40 per kg in the kitchen markets of the capital on Thursday, which was Tk 38-45 per kg a week ago.

On September 14 last year, the Ministry of Agriculture fixed the maximum retail price of potatoes at Tk 36 per kg.

According to Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) under the Ministry of Agriculture, the average cost of production of potatoes in the current season is Tk 15.95 per kg.

Potatoes are arriving in the market from different regions of the country, including Bogura, Joypurhat, and Dinajpur.

Farmers have been getting good prices for a long time, but the potato prices started to fall after the government allowed its imports to reduce the prices. When potato imports started from India, its price fell further.

It is known that potatoes are currently being sold at Tk 19-22 per kg at farmer level, only Tk 3-6 higher than their production cost.

According to the market information, traders buy potatoes from farmers and sell them through big traders called ‘aratdar’ at various markets in Dhaka.

On Sunday night, potatoes were sold at Tk 27-28 per kg at big traders’ level at Karwan Bazar in the capital. Aratdar gets Tk 1 as commission on per kg of potato. The remaining profit is given to the merchants.

Wholesale traders bought potatoes from arat and sold them at Tk 32-33 per kg on Thursday.

However, according to DAM, potatoes were sold at Tk 23-25 per kg in various markets, including Karwan Bazar and Babubazar, on Thursday.

According to TCB, last year potatoes were sold at Tk 22-28 per kg in various markets of the capital at retail level, which is Tk 30-45 per kg on this year. Accordingly, compared to last year (January 9), the price of potatoes has increased by 49 per cent within a year.

Zakir Hossain, a wholesaler at Karwan Bazar said, "We buy potato at Tk 28 per kg. Then we spend Tk 0.5-1 more along with storage and labour costs. So, we cannot sell it for less than Tk 32 per kg.”

Due to the shortage of potatoes, he said, during the last season, this year’s shortage has been met with early arrived potatoes. As a result, stocks of new potatoes have run out at many hubs of the country. Besides, new potatoes of many regions, including Munshiganj, have not come to the market yet, so the price of potatoes is high this year.

“On Friday, potatoes were sold at Tk 24-25 per kg. Potato price has increased by Tk 4 in three days,” he added.

Market analysis shows that out of Tk 20-24 profit, farmers get Tk 3-6, merchants get Tk 5-7, aratdar gets Tk 1 commission, wholesalers get Tk 5 and retailers charge Tk 4-7 per kg.

The government has again decided to import potatoes from India to control the market as the prices have increased even in the peak season. The first consignment of potatoes imported from India arrived in the country on Saturday (February 3). Import of about 94,000 tonnes of potato has been allowed as of Friday.


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