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
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
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: