Potato prices plummet, Kapurthala farmers stare at losses
With a sudden fall in the prices of potato, farmers cultivating the crop in the district are a disappointed lot these days.punjab Updated: Dec 26, 2014 21:50 IST
With a sudden fall in the prices of potato, farmers cultivating the crop in the district are a disappointed lot these days.
At the time of sowing, potato prices had increased to Rs 1500-Rs 1600 per quintal, thus encouraging the farmers to increase crop acreage. To their sheer disappointment, the prices have now dropped to Rs 500-Rs 600 per quintal in the beginning of the harvesting season.
Potato prices have suddenly dropped two months after the government put a ban on exporting the vegetable to other countries, except Pakistan, to control inflation.
“The government may have controlled potato prices but it never thinks about farmers who will suffer heavy losses,” Kuldeep Singh Dhot, a farmer, said.
Since the prices of potatoes were at peak at the time of sowing, farmers were forced to buy potato seeds at high rates.
Dhot said farmers had to pay Rs 1700 for a 50-kg bag of potato seeds during the sowing season.
He said including expenses such as seeds, irrigation, labour, pesticides and fuel, a farmer would have spent nothing less than Rs 80,000 per acre this season.
“The prices have now dropped to just Rs 550 per quintal. If a farmer has harvested 100 quintals of potato from one acre he will get only Rs 55,000 on the market and will face a minimum loss of Rs 25,000 per acre,” said Dhot, who has cultivated potatoes on 400 acres.
Harminder Singh, another farmer, said, “The government should continue exporting potato to other countries as India produces a surplus crop.”
“Ultimately, the potato glut in cold stores will get spoiled,” he further said.
Dr Manohar Singh, chief agriculture officer, Kapurthala, said, “This is obvious that rates will be go down when the production of a crop increases and demand decreases. Same is the case with potato crop.”
He said the farmers should grow any crop in a limited quantity to get a good price for it.
“Despite our efforts, farmers are not taking crop diversification seriously and continue to stick to a limited crop cycle which leads to a glut-like situation,” he said.