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 Buscador de Noticias
Asia 05/04/2024

Bangladesh: Potato prices could rise above Tk 50 per kg

Local potato prices could rise above Tk 50 per kg later this year due to a potential fall in production, the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association has warned.

Adverse weather conditions are likely to cause a production drop of at least 20 per cent this year, said the association’s president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu.

He also said farmers selling at least 30 per cent of their potatoes prematurely further contributed to the production gap.

Speaking at a press conference in Dhaka on Thursday, Mr Babu said consumers might see prices of the starchy root vegetable exceeding Tk 50 per kg. The current farm-level prices have already reached Tk 27-32 per kg, from the maximum of Tk 15 per kg last year.

Potato prices are currently Tk 45 per kg in Dhaka. Prices reached a record high of Tk 70 per kg in October last year, prompting the authorities to allow potato imports for the first time.

Subsequently, prices dropped as locally grown potatoes entered the market, rendering the import permits unused due to importers’ predictions of low-profit margins.

In 2022, Bangladesh produced 11 million tonnes of potatoes -- making it the third largest producer in Asia, after China and India. The Department of Agricultural Marketing estimates that the country’s annual demand for potatoes is 9 million tonnes.

With import reluctance, cold storage owners have now issued the warning about a potential supply shortage.

The press conference, held jointly by the Cold Storage Association and Savor International Ltd at the association’s office, also announced the Cold Chain Bangladesh 2024 Exhibition, scheduled for May 16-18 this year.

Mr Babu urged public agencies to provide accurate data on potato production to minimise market disruptions.

He said that cold storages in Munshiganj have 30 per cent less potato stock this year, while regions like Thakurgaon and Rangpur have reported a 10-20 per cent decrease.

The association president argued for access to loans from foreign sources with lower interest rates to facilitate the development of advanced cold chain facilities.

The high cost of borrowing is hindering investment in cold chain infrastructure, according to the Cold Storage Association.

The association also proposed utilising underused chambers in existing cold storage facilities. They suggest using a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to convert these chambers for storing onions and other perishable goods.

Mohammad Asaduzzaman, President of the Bangladesh Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Merchant Association, narrated the challenges faced in importing cold storage equipment and spare parts. High import duties, particularly the 130 per cent levy on spare parts, were cited as a major obstacle for the local industry.

He called for a reduction in import duties to stimulate investment in the country’s cold chain infrastructure.

tonmoy.wardad@gmail.com

Fuente: https://today.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade-market/potato-prices-could-rise-above-tk-50-per-kg-1711647834


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