Home / News / India /  Low prices pose heavy losses for potato growers in Punjab

The potato growers in Punjab are experiencing significant losses as they are receiving very low prices for their produce. They have appealed to the state government to provide assistance during this challenging period.

Growers have received only 4-4.50 per kg for their produce, in contrast to the 17 to 18 per kg they received the previous year.

The low prices have made it difficult for farmers to cover their input costs, resulting in them storing their produce in cold storage with hopes of prices increasing in the upcoming months.

This season, Punjab cultivated 1.14 lakh hectares of land for growing potatoes and achieved a record-breaking yield of 31.50 lakh metric tonnes. Punjab is known for being the top producer of seed potatoes and supplies the crop to various states such as West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh. However, Punjab farmers are struggling with plummeting prices due to a surplus potato crop in other potato-growing states.

"Rates of potatoes crashed at the start of this season. It is because of bumper crop in potato growing states in the country," rued potato grower Harbans Singh Walia. Walia grows potatoes over 25 to 30 acres of land in Mansoorwal village in the Kapurthala district.

He also noted that there was less demand for potatoes in other states like West Bengal and Gujarat this season.

The potato growers expressed their grievances, stating they are the most affected group due to the substantial decline in potato prices. They have urged the state government to establish a minimum price for the crop in the marketplaces (mandis), ensuring that the crop is not sold below this price. Such a measure would aid the growers in recovering their input costs.

It is the middlemen who are making money, said Jalandhar-based farmer Raghubir Singh.

According to growers, a farmer incurs 7 to 8 per kg as input cost on the potato crops. They lamented that with the prevailing rates, they were not unable to recover their input cost.

"Our input cost is 7-8 per kg and we are facing 50 per cent losses," said another Jalandhar-based grower J S Sangha.

Facing heavy losses in the wake of low prices, potato growers urged the state government to come forward and extend assistance to them.

Kapurthala-based farmer Harbans Walia said, "The state government should offer freight subsidy so growers can sell it in other states. There should be a subsidy on electricity consumed in cold storage."

The primary districts in Punjab for potato cultivation are Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, and Nawanshahr.

The early table variety of potatoes is harvested during November and December, while the harvesting of both table and seed potatoes occurs during February and March. Additionally, Punjab's Pukhraj and Kufri Jyoti potato varieties, among others, are highly sought after in other states.

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