The prices of potato went up sharply in the city market within a week, hitting the consumers' pockets.
Traders said a fall in production as well as surge in transport costs are key reasons behind hike in potato prices.
Stored potato of diamond and cardinal varieties were sold at Tk 28-32 a kg while 'carriage' variety at Tk 35-40 a kg on Sunday.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh recorded a 28 per cent hike in potato prices on an average in last one week.
It also said the current price of potato is 65 per cent higher than that of a year ago.
Belal Hossain, a grocer at East Rayer Bazar, told the FE that stored potato prices had been increasing for the last two weeks.
Hossain said he bought diamond variety of potato at Tk 1,020 a maund from Mohammadpur Krishi Market in the city on Sunday which was Tk 800-820 a maund seven days back.
Potato market expert Dr Abdul Kader said the demand for stored potato remained high this year due to a slight fall in production.
Untimely rain and cyclonic storm Bulbul in November last year caused damage to early varieties of potato which fuelled up the demand.
Exports have been facing hurdles due to high prices, said Dr Kader, also president of Bangladesh Potato Exporters Association.
Ashiqul Islam, a cold storage owner in Rangpur, told the FE that now transport cost is 50-80 per cent higher than that of the pre-lockdown period which is causing a surge in retail prices.
He said the price of cardinal variety of potato is Tk 18-19 a kg at cold storage level now but transport cost is now more than Tk 3.0 per kg.
Mizanur Rahman, director at Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), told the FE that potato acreage might have declined by 4.0-5.0 per cent but overall production increased due to favourable weather during the February-March period.
They are expecting to achieve the target of producing 10.5 million tonnes of potato this year, he said, adding that last year potato was cultivated on 0.5 million hectares of land, an all-time high.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the country grew 10.2 million tonnes of potato in the fiscal year 2019.
The demand for potato is 7.5-8.0 million tonnes annually, according to the directorate general of food.
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