Indications of a bumper crop and piling of old stock have brought down potato prices, putting hundreds of thousands of farmers and the Bengal government in a tight spot.
One senior government official said: “Harvesting of potatoes has started in Bengal and it seems 12 mln tons of potatoes will be produced, higher than the average of 9 mln tons. Cold stores still have last year’s produce.”
He said because over 300,0000 tons of potatoes are stored and the state is looking at a bumper production, farmers are selling their produce at a mere Rs 5 a kilo.
In contrast, input cost — seeds and fertilisers — are quite high, with farmers spending a lot of money to sow their potatoes. It’s a sticky situation. A few potato farmers’ bodies want the state government to buy potatoes from farmers, but it seems the state’s current financial condition does not allow it.