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Situation worsening for Indian potato growers

This week, low prices prompted the potato farmers to dump trolleys of unsold stock near the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha and some other official localities, registering their protest and seeking the attention of chief minster Yogi Adityanath to their distress.

In the period 2016-17, Uttar Pradesh potato output had stood at over 15 million tonnes. A rise to 16 MT is expected for 2017-18. Potato output during the previous five years had stood at an average of about 13 MT.

Now the potato farmers are experiencing a higher supply than retail demand, inadequate warehousing facilities, non-existent potato-based food processing industry, delayed government procurement etc.

After the farmers had dumped potato in the Lucknow high security zones, minister Yogi had said the government would increase the minimum support price for potatoes -487 rupees (6.40 euros) per quintal- if required.
The reported that the government is aware of the farmers’ problems, especially since the new crop will soon hit the market. The state potato area is estimated at about 6,50,000 hectares.

The government procurement was, however, riddled with problems; against total potato production of over 15 MT, the procurement stood at less than 13,000 tonnes. The original target had been 100,000 tonnes.

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