Govt to import potatoes as prices touch Rs40 a kg

The government will import potatoes for the first time to boost domestic availability and check price rise, agriculture secretary Ashish Bahuguna said on Thursday.

A general rise in potato prices across the country is giving tough time to the government even as most vegetables and fruits have become cheaper.

Potato prices in Delhi are now hovering around Rs35-40 per kg.

Bahuguna said that the government has decided to import potatoes and cooperative Nafed would soon float tenders.

The Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) has also been asked to explore possibilities of imports.

In June, the government had imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 450 per tonne on potatoes to increase domestic availability and cool prices.

"We are taking all possible measures to control price rise in potato," agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said.

The government is simultaneously working on a National Food Processing Policy to reduce wastage of perishables and improve the supply situation, food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said yesterday.

The stock of potatoes kept in cold storages is getting exhausted and hence the decision to import the commodity till the new crop arrives from January-end.

India produced 44.3 million tonnes of potatoes in 2013-14 crop year, down 2.3 per cent from the previous year.