BHUBANESWAR: Even as the market has witnessed a considerable fall in the price of potato due to arrival of new crop, traders in retail market are still fleecing consumers due to lack of regulatory and monitoring mechanism.
Potato prices have declined by more than 50 per cent in the last one month after several months at an elevated level due to increased arrival of the new crop. But in retail market, the price of the vegetable is double the wholesale price.
While the wholesale price of potato at Kuberpuri in Aiginia is in the range of `500 to `600 per quintal, the vegetable is being sold at `10 per kg in the retail market of the city. The retail price of the vegetable should be `7 to `8 per kg at best taking into account the transportation cost.
“The retail traders have been charging higher price due to lack of monitoring by enforcement agency of the Government and public protest,” said secretary of Aiginia Potato Merchant Association SS Mishra.
Potato was sold at `18 or `20 per kg before arrival of the new crop a couple of weeks back. The price of the tuber started softening as supply gradually picked up. There is a good flow of potato from neighbouring West Bengal which had put an embargo on its transportation for a considerable period of time last year.
Harvesting of rabi potato is picking up in the State and arrival of local product in the market is unlikely to have any significant impact on the retail price of the vegetable, said another wholesale trader.
The retail traders are also charging higher price on onion compared to the mandi price. While the wholesale price of onion in the city is between `1600 and `1700 per quintal, the edible bulb is being sold at `25 per kg in the retail market.
As the Potato Mission announced by the Government failed to take off during the rabi season and the area under potato cultivation is less than the target of 15,000 hectares, the State will be at the mercy of West Bengal to meet its tuber demand.