The government is going to start open market sales of potato to contain the unusual price hike of the item on the retail markets.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Sunday announced that the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh would start open market sales of the commodity at the rate of Tk 25 a kilogram immediately to ensure supply of the item at an affordable price.
This is the first time ever in the country the government has decided to sell potato through the TCB as the price of the item reached a record high of Tk 60 a kg last week.
The minister made the announcement following a meeting with owners of cold storage, traders of daily essentials, and representatives of different ministries and departments at the commerce ministry in the capital.
The Department of Agricultural Marketing under the agriculture ministry on October 7 set the maximum retail price of potato at Tk 30 a kg as the traders started increasing the price of the item from the first week of this month.
The DAM also set the wholesale price of potato at Tk 25 a kg and the cold-storage-gate price at Tk 23 a kg.
Despite setting price by the government, traders were still selling potatoes at Tk 50 a kg in the city markets showing the high wholesale price of the item as an excuse.
Against the backdrop of sharp increase in onion price on the market, the TCB on September 13 started open market sales of the product at Tk 30 per kg to avoid the reappearance of last year’s price crisis. Despite OMS, onion was selling for Tk 100 a kg in the city markets.
Tipu Munshi said that there was no supply shortage of potatoes in the country and the government agencies were working to ensure sales of the item by the traders at the government-set prices.
He said that recently the demand for potatoes had increased as the production of vegetables was hampered due to floods across the country.
Commerce secretary Md Jarar Uddin, Department of National Consumer Rights Protection director general Bablu Kumar Saha, TCB chairman Brigadier General Md Ariful Hassan and Bangladesh Cold Storage Association president Mosharraf Hossain, among others, attended the meeting.
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