Owners of cold storages in major Indian potato-producing states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Gujarat are a worried lot these days. A sizeable amount of loans they had taken from banks to lend to potato farmers and traders have not been repaid and have turned into non-performing assets.
With potato prices crashing, a majority of the farmers and traders have been unable to repay the loans they had taken from cold store owners against warehouse receipts. Unable to repay their loans, cold storages are shutting down operations.
According to Mahendra Swarup, President, Federation of Cold Storage Association, 200-300 cold storages in UP, which is the largest potato-growing State, are likely to close down as they have become unviable.
According to thehindubusinessline.com, potatoes, fetching ₹900-1,000 (€11.45-12.70) per 100 kg at the time of loading in March 2018, are currently not even getting ₹100-125 (1.27-1.86) per 100 kg. Production of potatoes across the country has been growing year-on-year, even while consumption has not grown at a similar rate.