The Odisha state government manages to produce barely one-fourth of potatoes to meet consumer demand, more than six years after the launch of the much-hyped State Potato Mission (SPM).
If the government’s admission in the State Assembly is anything to go by, 309,000 tons of potatoes are produced in the State annually, while consumer demand is a staggering 1.28 mln tons. With the production and demand ratio being heavily imbalanced, the coastal State is heavily dependent upon neighboring West Bengal, a potato surplus State, to meet the consumption requirement of the root vegetables.
According to Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, the potato mission launched on 30 April 2015 has indeed failed to achieve the desired result. Despite best efforts, the state has failed to become a potato surplus region to meet the consumers’ demand. In the 2020-21 years, potato cultivation was taken up in 26,000 hectares with annual produce of 3.09 lakh metric tons.
Odisha produces 22.82% of potatoes required Odisha to meet consumers’ needs. The State depends upon West Bengal to meet with the shortfall, a senior official of the agriculture and farmers’ empowerment department said.
According to thestatesman.com¸ the failure of the potato mission has been largely due to the dysfunctional state of the cold stores in the State.