Mumbai : After onion prices hit through the roof last year, it is feared that potato, a widely consumed vegetable in India, may become dearer as forward prices are almost double the spot rates.  MCX potato March contract is quoting at Rs 1,171 a

quintal, reports PTI.

MCX contract of potato is the reference rate for traders.              In Agra mandi, the biggest wholesale market for potatoes, the commodity is quoting at Rs 350-400 per 52 kg bag, which works out to almost Rs 680-780 per quintal

“Despite the estimated higher potato production at 39 million tonnes this year as against 38 MT last year, potato prices are set to become dearer for the common man due to 50% higher prices of potato contract on commodity exchanges,” commodity trader Dinesh Gupta said.

The reason for rise in MCX price is the inconsistent weather experienced in the last two weeks, traders said.

Generally, the fresh crop starts coming to the mandi in the first of March. This season, the arrival is delayed by a week and is expected to start from around March 10 only, Narayan Cold’s chief Rajendra Jain said.

Farmers and mandi traders say there is no damage to the crop.                 The vast disparity in mandi price and MCX is also due to levy of 15-20% special margin imposed by the commodity regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) on the contract.

The logical reasoning seems wrong as prices are so distorted between futures and spot. Instead of levying a special margin on the buyer’s side to curb unwanted speculation and price rigging, FMC chose to levy it on both buyer and seller, Gupta said.

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