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Bengal potato growers might not benefit from surpluses

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.


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