Published online: Apr 16, 2009
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The Press Trust of India reports retail prices reached 10 rupees a kilogram (9.1 cents a pound), up from four rupees a kilogram (3.6 cents a pound) a month ago.

The price increase follows crop damage in West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat and Bihar.

"Almost 50 percent of crops were damaged due to very high and fluctuating temperature in the four states resulting in spiraling prices," Potato & Onion Merchants Association president Trilok Chand Sharma says.

It's a dramatic turnaround after growers started the season throwing their crop away because of a shortage of cold storage space after a bumper harvest.

In Uttar Pradesh, India's most populated state, prices doubled a week.

With supply exceeding demand last year, much of the crop was left to rot in the fields.

Now traders say increased demand and rampant hoarding by traders has pushed the prices through the roof.

Chandrashekhar Azad University agriculture scientist R. P. Katiyar says prices have also been helped by discouraged farmers moving to other crops following the disastrous drop in prices last year.

India is the third largest potato producing country in the world after China and Russia, with a total acreage of 3.46 million acres, producing 25 million tonnes.