Raw Deal for Potato Farm­ers in UP, Ben­gal

Farm­ers in top-pro­duc­ing states get prices which are 40-60% lower than their cost of pro­duc­tion

The Economic Times - - Finance & Commodities - Su­tanuka.Ghosal@ times­group.com

Kolkata: Potato farm­ers of Ut­tar Pradesh and Ben­gal, the two lead­ing pro­duc­ers, are fac­ing tough times as they are get­ting prices which are 40-60% lower than their cost of pro­duc­tion. While Ben­gal needs to off­load 10 lakh tonnes of pota­toes in the next two months be­fore the new crop ar­rives from Pun­jab, UP has the un­en­vi­able task of pass­ing nearly 100 lakh tonnes of pota­toes from cold stor­ages to the mar­kets be­fore De­cem­ber15 when its own crop comes into the sys­tem. Farm­ers from UP and Ben­gal want the gov­ern­ment to amend the state APMC Act that can pave way for con­tract farm­ing, and will help farm­ers grow pota­toes ac­cord­ing to

Rough Road

Pota­toes Ben­gal needs to off­load in next two months de­mand. Traders from Ben­gal are de­mand­ing a road trans­port sub­sidy of .₹ 100 per quin­tal from the gov­ern­ment so that they can trans­port the tu­ber to other states.

In Ben­gal, 48 lakh tonnes of pota­toes are still ly­ing in cold stor­ages. “Farm­ers are get­ting .₹ 2.60-.`3.20 per kg while their cost of pro­duc­tion is Of pota­toes that UP has to reach mar­kets from cold stor­age be­fore Dec 15

UP’s potato pro­duc­tion this year

Ben­gal’s potato pro­duc­tion this year

.₹ 4.40 per kg. We need to sell 10 lakh tonnes of pota­toes to other states in the next two months to avoid fur­ther drop in prices. We have asked the gov­ern­ment to give us a trans­port sub­sidy of .₹ 100 per quin­tal which is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion,” said Patit­pa­ban De, pres­i­dent, West Ben­gal Cold Stor­age As­so­ci­a­tion. This year, UP pro­duced 155 lakh tonnes of pota­toes, 10% higher than last year. Sim­i­larly, Ben­gal has pro­duced 115 lakh tonnes, which is al­most 20% more than last year.

Talk­ing to ET, DN Pandey, deputy direc­tor, hor­ti­cul­ture (potato), UP, said, “Our gov­ern­ment is in the process of amend­ing the APMC Act, and once that’s done, we can look at con­tract farm­ing.”Of the 100 lakh tonnes of pota­toes in cold stor­ages, 30 lakh tonnes will be used for do­mes­tic con­sump­tion in the next four months, 20 lakh tonnes will be ex­ported, and an­other 20 lakh tonnes will be used as seed.

“We will have a sur­plus stock of 30 lakh tonnes which will im­pact the mar­ket. Let us see how we can sell this sur­plus vol­ume,” said Pandey.

155 lakh tonnes: 115 lakh tonnes:

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