A recent crop prospect report prepared by the Nasik-based National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), claims that kharif potato production in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, and Maharashtra has been affected adversely because of lack of rain with greatly reduced stocks for June and July.
The situation has been aggravated by low yields in key potato growing states such as West Bengal, Bihar and eastern UP due to late blight disease. These three states produce more than 50 per cent of the countries total output, which was estimated to be around 24 million tonnes during 2008-9.
It is thought the country's potato consumption is now being met by last year's rabi stocks from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
Agricultural Marketing Information Network (AGMARK) data also indicated that the wholesale potato price is at present more than Rs 1,900 per quintal in Tamil Nadu as well as north eastern states. Potato futures prices rose by 0.85 per cent on the Multi Commodity Exchange on Thursday as speculators expanded their positions in anticipation of a rise in demand in the spot market amid restricted arrivals.
At MCX, potato futures for October delivery shot up by 0.85 per cent to Rs 1,160 per quintal on Thursday. Similarly, potato for delivery in September month contract gained 0.25 per cent to Rs 1,090.10 per quintal, while August contract rose by 0.13 per cent to Rs 1,024.80 per quintal.
In Uttar Pradesh this year, the estimated stock in the cold storage was in the range of 7-7.2 million tonnes. In Punjab, from total production of 1.4 million tonne, about 40 per cent is stored for seed production and 25 per cent for the table purpose.
According to AGMARK data the wholesale potato prices in the Delhi region have risen by around 49 per cent since May. Prices were at Rs 1,045 per quintal on Friday.