Turn of Punjab’s potato farmers to lose sleep over low prices ||SNE
By SNE .
Dec 18, 2018
CHANDIGARH: Not just onion farmers in Maharashtra, but also those in Punjab, growing potato, too are staring at a bleak future as prices of the crop have crashed. A potato grower, Pawanjot Singh of Dhogri village near Jalandhar, who tilled 250 acres, said, “A farmer spends between Rs 9 and Rs 12 to produce a kg of potato.
It includes Rs 6- Rs 8 production cost and Rs 3-Rs 4 for harvesting, packaging, cold storage and transportation. The fresh crop, which has hit the market, is being sold for Rs4 per kg. So we are not being able to recover the production cost. The implementation of GST has also bumped up the costs.”
More than 90 per cent of the potato crop in the state is grown in the Doaba region, which comprises Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts. Potato is grown on around 85,000 hectares, and it produces 2.2 million tonnes of the crop.Singh said that retailers are earning from the crop, but farmers are failing to recover the production cost.
“It is estimated that around 10 lakh bags of potatoes from the previous year are lying in 500 cold storages in the state (each bag has 50 kg). Now, they have been given for free as cattle feed,” said Singh, who has 12,000 bags lying in his store. He added that as the crop this year has been infected with blight disease the production is expected to fall. Also, farmers are spending Rs 5,000 extra to save the crop.
Jang Bahandur Sangha, Secretary General of Confederation of Potato Seed Farmers, said, “Punjab supplies 75 per cent of shed potato (potato seed) to other states. But most states have already sown their crops. Hence, we suspect that our potato seeds will not be sold and there will be no liquidity with the farmers.”