Supply shortage pushes potato prices up

After increasing significantly for past many days, potatoes arrivals have declined across major states, especially from Uttar Pradesh. As supply has nearly halved potato prices are rising in the physical markets and the trend is likely to continue unless arrivals increase in coming weeks, according to a report by RML AgTech.
Indian potato production for 2016-17 is projected to rise 7.2 per cent to reach 46.55 million tonnes compa­red with 43.44 million tonnes in the previous year, it said.
The Gujarat government has allocated Rs 100 crore assistance for potato and onion farmers as the state is looking forward to a bumper crop of 3.9 million tonnes in 2016-17. The government earlier had announced a trans­p­o­rt subsidy for farmers of potatoes.
As per official sources, farmers will get Re 1 per kg for selling their produce in the state and Rs 2 per kg for outside the state. Further, the government has also decided to pay Re 1 per kg to farmers who have sold their produce in APMCs between March 1 and June 10, this year.
As on week ended on June 26, potato arrival across the country crossed 196,560 tonnes against 304,050 tonnes the previous week. UP received 106,660 tonnes potatoes against 202,020 during the review period.
According to the national horticultural research and development foundation, potato (solanum tuberosum L) is a dicot plant belonging to the solanaceae family. It is a native of Andean mountains of Boli­via and Peru in South America where it has been under cultivation for over 6,000 years.
The Portuguese traders introduced potato into India in early 17th century. Potato is one of the most important cro­ps of the world, ranking next only to rice, wheat and maize. It assumes greater significa­n­ce for its ability to provide food security to millions of people across the globe, as it provides more dry-matter content, proteins and calories from per unit area of land and time. Potato is a wholesome food, which is rich in carbohydra­t­es, proteins, minerals and vitamins. It is a rich source of potassium and therefore, go­od for patients suffering from heart ailments.
India ranks third in area and second in output in the world. About 365.36 million tonnes potatoes are produced in the world over an area of 19.28 million hectares. China, Russia, India, the US, Germ­any, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Turkey and Iran are the major potato growing countries in the world.
In India, potato is produced in an area of 1.907 million hectares with a production of 41.483 million tonnes and productivity of 21.75 tonnes per hectare as per FAO figure for 2012. But as per estimates of the government of India for 2013-14, the production is about 44.307 million tonnes from an area of 2.017 million hectares. The productivity is highest (50.14 tonnes per hectare) in New Zealand, followed by the US (45.82 tonnes per hectare), Belgium (45.42 tonnes per hectare), the Netherlands (45.17 ton­nes per hectare) and Germany (44.76 tonnes per hectare).
India and China, despite being major potato producing countries, have quite low productivity of 21.97 tonnes per hectare and 16.12 tonnes per hectare, respectively.
UP has the highest share both in terms of area 604,000 hectares (29.93 per cent) and production (14.43 million tonnes – 32.57 per cent). Total area under potato cultivation is estimated around 1.24 per cent more, 2.017 million hectares in 2013-14 against 1.992 million hectares in 2012-13.
Around 1.5-2 million ton­n­es potatoes are produced during the kharif season from 0.80 to 1 lakh hectares. The other major producing states are Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Pu­n­jab, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka. Productivity is highest in Gujarat (29.75 tonnes per hectare) followed by Bengal (26.51 tonnes per hectare), Punjab (25.00 tonnes per hectare) and UP (23.90 tonnes per hectare).