Staring at glut, potato growers in Punjab seek MSP, lifting of export ban
Besides demanding a policy on the lines of Haryana to counter the farm distress, the farmers here are also demanding lifting of the International ban on potatoes.punjab Updated: Jan 16, 2018 10:11 IST
With the neighbouring Haryana having introduced a crop compensation scheme for four vegetables, potato farmers in Punjab, particularly in Doaba region, are fearing a glut-like situation this time again as the Punjab government has failed to provide any help to them.
Doaba farmers, who supply potato across the country, are dumping their old produce on the roads in the absence of buyers. They are staring at more losses in the beginning of the harvesting season this time.
“If the government fails to intervene to provide help to potato growers, Doaba farmers will be the worst-hit,” said Jalandhar Potato Growers Association (JPGA) general secretary Jaswinder Singh Sangha.
Farmers sow potato on nearly 80,000 hectares in Doaba every year with the produce remaining around 200-quintal crop per hectare.
Besides demanding a policy on the lines of Haryana to counter the farm distress, the farmers here are also demanding lifting of the International ban on potatoes.
The Haryana government had recently launched the Bhavantar Bharpai scheme (price deficit compensation scheme), formulated on the lines of MSP for potato, onion, cauliflower and tomato to ensure income of Rs 48,000-Rs 56,000 for one acre produce.
Sangha said the Punjab government should take up the issue of lifting ban on potato export with the Centre so that they get better remuneration for their produce.
“Due to low potato production in other countries around this time of the year, they have a huge demand for the vegetable,” he said.
When the state farmers faced a glut-like situation last year, the government had to purchase potato via Markfed and had also directed the schools to use more potato in the mid-day meal.
A senior Markfed official said they have not received any directions from the government to purchase potato from the farmers. Last year, we purchased over 4,500 quintal potato on the government’s direction and sold it to schools at Rs 5-Rs 6 per kilogram.”
Kuldeep Singh Dhot, a progressive farmer from Kapurthala, said he is writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to request him to help the state potato growers who have been facing huge losses over the years.
Farmers sow potato on nearly 80,000 hectares in Doaba every year with the produce remaining around 200-quintal crop per hectare. The region has 350 cold storages which are trying to clear their old stock as the arrival of new crop has already started.