Potato prices witnessed a fresh hike on Saturday adding to the woes of consumers.
The price rise happened when onion remained unchanged at its high at Tk 160-240 a kg depending on varieties.
Prices of stored potato of the cardinal, diamond and carage varieties, which normally decline gradually between November and January following the arrival of new crops in the market, have been showing an upward trend for weeks.
Prices of stored potato increased by Tk 5.0 a kg just in day to stay at Tk 30-Tk 35 (diamond, cardinal) and Tk 40-44 (carage) a kg on Saturday.
The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) recorded a 22 per cent hike in potato prices in a week and 44 per cent in a month.
The current price is 21 per cent higher than a year ago, said the TCB.
However, the early variety of potato started arriving in the city kitchen markets. But the prices were much higher--Tk 70-Tk 100 a kg.
Kamrul Islam, a grocer at Dhanmondi-15, told the FE that stored potato prices had been increasing for the last one month. "I bought the diamond variety of potato at Tk 1160 a maund from Sadeq Khan Krishi Market, Rayer Bazar this (Saturday) morning against Tk 1020 on Thursday," he said.
Mozammel Hoque Choudhury, secretary of Bangladesh Cold Storage Association, said the demand for stored potato remained higher this year amid high prices of vegetables.
He told the FE that untimely rain and the cyclonic storm Bulbul caused damage to early varieties of potato and vegetables which fuelled the surge in demand.
He said the cold storage owners were selling seed potato for which the prices were a little bit higher.
He said seed potato was selling at Tk 23-Tk 24 a kg at the cold storage gates.
"We stored 4.6 million tonnes of potato this year, of which 1.2 to 1.4 million tonnes of seed potato are now left," he said.
Bangladesh produced more than 10.02 million tonnes of potato this year against its demand for 8.0 million tonnes, according to the agriculture ministry.
However, onion prices remained static maintaining the previous high.
Local varieties were sold at Tk 220-Tk 240 a kg and imported ones at Tk 160-Tk 200 a kg in Dhaka's retail markets on Saturday.