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Potato glut in Punjab,1 lakh tonne set to rot

The bumper production of potato has led to a glut-like situation in Punjab and if immediate measures are not taken,nearly 1 lakh tonnes of the produce will rot in the next 15 days.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
April 2, 2010 11:31:48 pm

The bumper production of potato has led to a glut-like situation in Punjab and if immediate measures are not taken,nearly 1 lakh tonnes of the produce will rot in the next 15 days. The government may also find it difficult to dispose of the over 16 lakh tonnes of potato kept in cold stores.

With no buyers,the prices of potato have crashed from Rs 800 per quintal to Rs 250.

The farmers of Doaba region have been leading the state in potato production despite irregular power supply and poor condition of the irrigation canals.

Punjab produced nearly 2.1 million tonnes of potatoes this season,while it has a capacity to store only 16 lakh tonnes in 491 cold stores. While over 1 lakh tonne has been lying in the open,braving the hot weather,the rest has been consumed.

Jalandhar Potato Growers’ Association press secretary Iqbal Singh Chatta said farmers had been left with no option but to dump their produce in the open. He said the potatoes would not be fit for consumption any more after 15 days and the government should take some immediate steps to save the produce.

He suggested that the Central and state governments should consider selling potatoes in the Middle East,besides central states of the country where the demand was more.

He said a huge quantity of Doaba potato was consumed by eastern states of the country last year,but the demand was less this time.

He said they had met the Punjab government’s marketing agency,Markfed,but nothing had been done till date.

“At least the government can provide potatoes to the poor instead of pulses under the Atta-Dal scheme for some time,so that the potatoes are saved from getting rotten,” he suggested.

N S Kang,Principal Secretary and Financial Commissioner,Development,who also looks after horticulture,said there was a potato glut all over the country and hence there was less demand for it everywhere. “We are trying to find a way out,” he said,adding that they were also studying the possibility of exporting the produce to Middle East countries.

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