Millennium Post

Prices of household food articles move north in Kolkata

kolkata: Soon after partial respite from edible oil inflation, prices of other household food articles are moving northwards with a 20 per cent spike in potatoes, chicken and eggs in the markets of Kolkata, retailers said on Friday.

Retail inflation soared to an eight-year high of 7.79 per cent in April on annual basis.

The Jyoti' variety of potato, which is the widely used, is sold at around Rs 28 per kg in many of the city markets while the premium variety, Chandramukhi', which constitutes less than five per cent of the total production, is priced at Rs 40-45 a kg. Broiler chicken price also moved to Rs 240-265 a kg depending on location and quality from Rs 190-200 per kg while prices of eggs have also soared in the last few days.

"The production of potato is lower by 15-20 per cent over 2021. There had been lower loading in cold storages this year by two crore packets which is equivalent to 10 lakh tonnes, Patit Paban De, a senior member of West Bengal Cold Storage Association, said."This year potato was loaded on an average price of Rs 18 a kg. After adding associated expenses, the storage gate rate is Rs 23-24. So, we don't think the price would ease much from current levels but it would rise either," another official of the association said. West Bengal Agriculture Minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay said prices of the tuber will ease once all cold storages begin release operation from May 15.

Only 40 per cent of the 570 odd cold storages in the state so far have opened gates for release of the crop.

State government operated Sufal Bangla' outlets are selling jyoti' potatoes at Rs 25 a kg.

The government is keeping a watch on the prices, he said.

On chicken and eggs, West Bengal Poultry Federation Secretary Madan Mohan Maity said the huge inflationary input cost of 85 per cent is the key reason for the hike in prices.

"There had been a jump of 77 per cent in chicken feed price alone and the rest is the higher transport cost. Even then, farms are not able to make profits. When the price is firm, many small farms become operational and when prices drop, they close down unable to bear the losses, he said. At the national level, 20 per cent of egg farms are closed, Maity said. Oil cakes are a key input for poultry feed production and until oilseed price eases, feed price will continue to rule higher, he said. Prices of edible oil across varieties, however, have eased by at least 10 per cent from the peak. "High prices of food along with LPG cylinder are creating havoc on our household budget. Everyone is blaming others but no one is taking any concrete step," a homemaker of South Kolkata's Dhakuria area said.

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