With a steep fall in the price of potato in the wholesale market, potato growers are facing a huge crisis.
“We are getting Rs 2.50 to Rs 3 per kg depending on the quality of potato against its production cost of Rs 5 per kg,” said Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha, a leading potato grower in the state.
He said that the crisis started immediately after demonetisation in November and was still continuing.
Farmers said that only if potato sells at Rs 700 per quintal would it be viable for them.
“Due to demonetisation, most potato seed producers were unable to sell the seed to states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat. They had to throw away about 20-25 lakh bags of seed,” said potato grower Surjit Singh Bhatti of Jalandhar.
“Due to cash crunch, farmers from states like West Bengal did not come to take the seed. Moreover, truckers were also not prepared to transport the seed to other states due to cash crisis,” he added.
The Doaba region is known for producing best quality potato seed, which is in big demand in potato-growing states such as UP, West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha and MP. As potato had fetched a good price last year, farmers brought more land under this crop this year. “We have been pressing for government intervention but no one is listening,” said Bhatti. There is scope to export potato to Pakistan via the Wagah border. In that country, it can fetch a reasonable price.
“We are exploring this option. If we succeed, we will be able to recover at least the production cost,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich today said that if his party forms the government in the state, it would resolve the issue. He said that potato growers were facing bad times due to the “callous attitude” of the SAD-BJP government towards them. He said that it was a matter of concern that farmers were suffering when BKU leader Ajmer Singh Lakhowal was holding the office of chairperson of the Punjab Mandi Board.
22 Aug 2019
23 Aug 2019