Coronavirus: Potato prices jump at least 20 pc amid panic

Coronavirus: Potato prices jump at least 20 pc amid panic

NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Retail and wholesale potato prices in parts of West Bengal have seen a jump of at least 20 per cent amid panic buying, fearing a shutdown in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to market sources.

The jyoti variety of the staple which was selling for Rs 15-17 per kg a week back has touched Rs 20-22 a kg in some retail markets, traders said, adding that in certain online marketplaces it was selling at Rs 25 a kg.

Wholesale prices of potato have jumped to Rs 13 per kg from Rs 10-11 a kg a week back in wake of high demand from other states, they said.

"Nationally, potato prices have jumped and traders are taking further advantage of it. The retail prices should not be more than Rs 18 per kg," a cold storage association official told PTI.

Urging people not to panic and stock produces, agriculture advisor to the West Bengal government Pradip Mazumdar said there is no shortage of potato or rice in the state.

"There is no reason to fear. The government is keeping a tab on the corrupt traders and will take stern action," he said.

The state has already procured about 20,000 tonnes of potato, he said.

"We have been procuring since long and storing for future intervention in case potato price jumps. The virus threat has just increased the need," he said.

The annual consumption of potato in West Bengal is pegged at 65 lakh tonnes. This year the state produced over 100 tonnes of the staple. The cold storages in the state started receiving potatoes from the first week of March and the window will stay open till the month-end.

West Bengal is one of the largest producers of potato in India and a price rise in the state is likely to lead to a similar surge in other parts of the country.

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