Co-ops to procure potatoes directly from farmers

UP has suffered huge loss of produce due to inclement weather conditions with incidents of farmers committing suicide.

Written by Mohd Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: April 11, 2015 4:18:20 am

In an attempt to reach out to the farmers facing crop loss due to the recent unseasonal rains and hailstorms, the Akhilesh Yadav government, for the first time, directed state cooperative bodies to purchase potatoes directly from farmers to save them from the distress and committing suicide.

Both, state and central governments, have committed to cooperative bodies for bearing loss incurred by farmers, if any, while purchasing potatoes.

Uttar Pradesh has suffered huge loss of produce due to inclement weather conditions with incidents of farmers committing suicide across the state due to this were being reported. Another potato farmer, Rajveer Singh of Nagla Ichcha village in Jaswant Nagar area of CM’s native district Etawah, reportedly hanged himself on Friday. Akhilesh, however, has appealed to farmers to not take the drastic step of committing suicide and assured the state government’s support to them.

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“Potato purchase is happening for the first time in the state. The proposal was sent to Union Ministry of Agriculture and they gave their consent. Soon, we will have the formal approval in writing,” S P Joshi, director of Horticulture and Food Processing told The Indian Express.

State government officials had a detailed meeting with their Delhi counterparts from April 6 to 8 seeking approval for the proposal. “There were some clarifications which have been cleared and we will soon get the approval,” Joshi added.

The cooperative agencies which have been roped in for the direct purchase of potatoes include Pradeshik Cooperative Federation and UP Agro and National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India. “These cooperative bodies will purchase potato directly from the farmers. The price will be decided as per the market rate,” Joshi said. After purchasing, the potatoes will be put in cold storage for further trading.

“The central and state government will equally bear the loss to cooperative bodies, if any, from the potato trading,” Joshi said.

Presently, UP, with 143 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of potato in a year, is the highest producer of the tuber in the country followed by West Bengal and Bihar. UP has a storage space of nearly 121 lakh MT, of which 103 lakh MT has already been filled. Thus, there is a purchase possibility of 40 lakh MT of potatoes.

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