Friday, November 28, 2014

Potato production down forcing price rise

While the fresh crop of potato from Uttarakhand has begun to arrive in the market and the government having floated tender to import the daily essential kitchen staple, there is no respite to the consumers from the high prices.
Potato prices have stayed above the Rs 30 a kg mark for months and the government pinned hopes on fresh crops to cool down the prices.
The move of the West Bengal government not to allow the inter state movement of the crop has also been blamed for the high price of potato.

As per the provisional estimates provided by the States, the All India production of potato during 2013-14 has decreased by 2.3% in comparison to 2012-13.

Potato production during 2013-14 was affected by untimely rains and late blight disease during February/March 2014.

The price rise in potato is not solely due to reduction in production but is attributed to several factors such as (i) seasonality, (ii) adverse weather conditions, (iii) cost of transportation, (iv) cold storage costs, (v) speculation on impending shortage situation, (vi) rising demand due to increasing incomes, urbanisation, etc.

Following important steps have been taken by the Government to do away with the imbalance between demand and supply and to control the prices of potato:

Minimum Export Price (MEP) of US$ 450 per MT has been imposed on potato w.e.f. 26.06.2014.

Stock limits in respect of potato have been imposed for a period of one year with effect from 3rd July, 2014 under the Essential Commodities Act.

Advisory to State Governments have been issued to take action against hoarding & black marketing and effectively enforce the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 & the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.

Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) has recently launched Kisan Mandi in Alipur, Delhi to cater to the huge market for fruits and vegetables by sourcing these directly from Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Growers’ Associations.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in the Rajya Sabha today.