Potato prices in Pun to remain low at Rs 250-350/ quintal: PAU

Ludhiana, Jan 24 (PTI) With potato harvesting commencingin the state, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today saidpotato prices are expected to rule between Rs 250-350 perquintal during the next two months.

"... during this marketing season, the potato pricesare expected to rule between Rs 250-350 per quintal duringFebruary and March, and will further increase by Rs 100 perquintal during April-May," J S Sidhu of Agricultural MarketIntelligence Center (AMIC) of PAU said.

Punjab grows potato at land area of close to 83,000hectares with an estimated output of over 20-lakh tonne.

He said the harvesting of potato has started in Punjaband it will be in full swing by mid-February.

The model price of potato in important markets of thestate, which was prevailing in the range of Rs 450 to 550 perquintal during October-November 2010, declined to Rs 200-250per quintal during January 2011, said Sidhu.

Discussing probable reasons for this, Dr Sidhu said thismay be due to premature harvesting of potato to take advantageof spring crops such as maize, sunflower, vegetables, etc.

The premature potato must be sold immediately in themarket and cannot be stored or used, as increased supply maydecline the prices, he observed.

However, in the markets of leading potato producingstates like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal which accounts forabout 75 per cent of potato production in the country, theprices are still ruling in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 400 perquintal.

The late blight disease is reported in some of thepotato-growing areas in Punjab, but according to experts itwill not significantly affect the potato production there.

Traders are of the view that during main harvestingseason of February and March, the potato prices may notincrease significantly from the current price levels.

Under such conditions, farmers have to take a decisionregarding when to harvest and whether to sell potatoimmediately on harvest or to store for sometime to get abetter price, he said.

Due to storage of the crop to be used as seeds and alsoto be released for consumption during the lean season, theprices may start moving upwards from April onwards.

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