Fresh potato prices far higher than previous years
Farmers are enjoying good sales of early harvest potatoes, which cost an astonishing Tk 400 per kilogramme (kg) after hitting markets in Dinajpur and its neighbouring districts by the end of last week.
Prices have since cooled off with fresh potatoes now going for Tk 100 to Tk 110 per kg as the supply gradually increased in local markets. However, this remains a good margin for growers.
Anwar Hossain, a farmer of Mazadanga village under Dinajpur sadar upazila, had brought around 13 kgs of potato to a wholesale market last Wednesday morning, when his entire stock sold out in the blink of an eye.
Similarly, two farmers from Chehelgazi village under the same upazila saw their stocks sell out in little over an hour.
Having purchased the crop at Tk 250 to Tk 280 per kg, traders then sold these potatoes for Tk 400 per kg in retail markets.
Tia Das, a vegetable trader at Rail Bazar Haat in Dinajpur town, said potatoes are far costlier now compared to recent years but consumers seem unaffected by the higher prices.
Mobarak Hossain, a resident of Dinajpur town, said he could not help but buy newly harvested potatoes, albeit in a smaller quantity than usual, as they have a unique taste
During a recent visit to other markets in the area, including Bahadur Bazar and Gudri Bazar, it was found that consumers are rushing to buy the tuber for between Tk 100 and Tk 120 at present.
Azizul Islam, a farmer of Chehelgazi village, said prices of fresh potato remains high every year as the harvesting period of early varieties coincide with the Bengali festival of Nabanna, which is celebrated with food and dance.
"However, prices will eventually go down with the gradual increase in supply of fresh potatoes," he added.
Mobarak Hossain, a resident of Dinajpur town, said he could not help but buy newly harvested potatoes, albeit in a smaller quantity than usual, as they have a unique taste.
Likewise, other consumers at Rail Bazar Haat were buying fresh potatoes in small quantities of less than 1 kg in the face of inflated prices.
Farmers in Nilphamari, another north-western district of the country, started harvesting potatoes halfway through the current month to profit from the current demand for fresh tubers.
Lalchon Mia, a farmer from Durakuti village under the district's Kishoreganj upazila, said he cultivated potato on one bigha of land by spending Tk 35,000 in the last week of September.
After harvesting about 1,600 kgs of the crop on November 15, Lalchon sold his produce directly from the field to a trader in the capital's Karwan Bazar at Tk 60 per kg, netting him a profit of around Tk 61,000.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) say the harvest of early variety potatoes will begin in full-swing after 10 days and continue until January next year.
The DAE aims to ensure production of 1.05 crore tonnes of potato from 4.64 lakh hectares of land in the country's northwest during the current season.
In Dinajpur, potato cultivation stood at 1.05 lakh tonnes from 47,390 hectares last year.