Despite higher retail prices of potatoes, the sowing of these tubers is set to shrink in India’s Northern states as farmers prefer alternate crops including onion, garlic, sugarcane and other perishables in this season. The rising gap between retail and wholesale price in recent years in India, second largest producer of potato, is dissuading big growers from cultivation of potato in states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
“In the last few years the gap between wholesale and retail price of potato has widened by two-three times. It has disenchanted potato growers and many are shifting to other crops. Mostly big farmers who store their produce have incurred losses in potato business and many such farmers are shifting from cultivation of the tuber,” Arvind Aggarwal, president, Cold Storage Associations of Uttar Pradesh said.
In Uttar Pradesh, leading growers of potato, farmers have replaced the tubers with crops like garlic, onion, mustard etc. “Around Mainpur district more garlic is being grown whereas Agra has seen increase in mustard area,” a senior official of Uttar Pradesh agriculture department said. In the central part of the state sugarcane is gaining acreage in areas known for potato cultivation.