Farmers and businessmen are counting the loss of frozen potatoes
The wholesale price of potato per kg was Tk 16 last Sunday in cold stores of Bogra and Joypurhat. But from production to storage in cold storage, farmers and traders have to spend an average of 19 rupees on one kilogram of potatoes. By keeping potatoes in the freezer, farmers and traders are losing Tk 3 per kg.
According to the calculations of Bangladesh Cold Storage Association, more than 5 lakh metric tons of potatoes have been stored in 55 cold storages of Bogra-Jaipurhat. Of this, about 1 lakh metric tons of seed potatoes.
Remaining about 4 lakh metric tons (1 thousand kg per ton) of potatoes are kept for sale. Based on last Sunday’s market price, the potato farmers and traders of the two districts are facing a loss of Tk 120 crore (Tk 3 per kg). The amount of loss will also fluctuate due to price manipulation.
Astoric variety of potatoes stored in Saduria area of Shibganj upazila of Bogra and Balrampur Shah Sultan Cold Storage were sold at the rate of Tk 1,200 per sack (65 kg), Desi Pakri potato at Tk 1,400 and Diamond variety potato at Tk 1,100 last Sunday.
But 1 thousand 110 taka has been spent on each bag from the production of Astoric potato to storage in the freezer. Pakri potato costs Tk 1,500 per bag and Diamond potato costs Tk 1,300 per bag.
Although the price is low in the cold store, on Sunday in Bogra’s Fateh Ali Bazar, Astoric and Desi Pakri potatoes were sold at Tk 30 and Tk 35 per kg respectively. The price of a 65 kg sack of Astoric potato is 1 thousand 950 taka and the price of Pakri potato is 2 thousand 275 taka. Traders say that this difference in prices is due to middlemen.
According to related sources, 40 lakh metric tons of potatoes have been stored this year in 408 cold storages across the country, including 30 of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC). About 35 percent of which has been sold till Sunday.
Additional Deputy Director of Bogra Agricultural Extension Department. Enamul Haque said that a record potato has been produced this year. 11 lakh 21 thousand metric tons of potatoes have been produced in 57 thousand 507 hectares of land in Bogra. The annual demand of potato in this district is about 4 lakh tons. Out of this, 5 lakh 51 thousand tons of potatoes are stored in 37 cold storages of the district. The remaining potatoes have been sent to different districts of the country. But it is less than other times.
Nazmul Islam, a potato grower of Shibganj’s Jhalkhur village, kept 350 sacks of potatoes in two freezers in Bogra. He said, “One sack of Astoric potatoes has cost 1 thousand 115 taka for storage in the freezer.” And at the freezer level, the price of potatoes per bag on Sunday was 1 thousand 30 taka. The loss per bag is 85 rupees.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Cold Storage Association Mozammel Haque told Prothom Alo that in the past years, 50% of the potatoes kept in cold storage usually went to the market by August 20. But this time due to reduced demand, even half of the potatoes from the cold store have not gone to the market.
Mustafa Kamal, manager of Himadri Cold Storage, believes that to prevent this disaster, it is necessary to increase the number of potato processing factories and take export initiatives.
Biplab Kumar Ghosh, Manager of Kalai Upazila’s Punt Cold Storage, said that the prices of all vegetables are high in the market, only the price of potatoes is low. The potato market has been fluctuating for two months. Because of this, frozen potatoes are not selling much. However, due to electricity load shedding, the cost of potato storage in cold storage has increased a lot.