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India: Deesa potato farmers witness glut and falling prices

Farmers around Deesa, known as India’s ‘potato bowl’, are facing a problem of oversupply, which could force them dump their produce. The phenomenon is a throwback to previous years when farmers dumped huge stock of potatoes on the streets of Deesa, or fed them to cattle due to plummeting returns.

The demand from states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, has slumped over the last fortnight and the prices of potatoes have fallen by 20-30%. As a result, nearly 4 mln bags (each containing 50 kg of potatoes) are lying in the 200 cold storages in and around Deesa.

“If the same position persists and the stock does not get cleared by the end of December, prices will plummet further and the farmers will have no option but to repeat what they do as a mark of protest; dump their stock or donating it to cattle farmers,” Ganpat Kachwa, president of the Cold Storage Owners’ Association stated.

However, sources in the Agriculture Department say that the total cultivation may not be at par with 2017, when potatoes were sown in nearly 66,000 hectare area. This year, by November 22, cultivation was completed on 37,755 hectares. During the corresponding period last year, cultivation was done on around 40,000 hectares of land in the Banaskantha district.

According to enbulletin.com, deputy director of Agriculture P. K. Patel said cultivation usually ends by the first week of December.


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