Though Punjab is expecting to harvest over 21 lakh metric tonnes of potato this year,it and the Northern states might yet have to depend on other states to provide them with potatoes fit for human consumption. The situation is the result of the long spell of cold wave this year resulting in small sizes of potatoes,which are perfect for seeding but not consumption.
The area under potato crop this year was 85,000 hectares,which produced 21 lakh metric tonnes of potato as compared to 84,000 hectares under potato cultivation last year which produced 20 lakh metric tonnes of the crop.
The size of our potato is less then the last year and it is perfect for seed as we supply seed to the entire country. But the Northern states will have to depend on the other states for potatoes fit for consumption, said Jaswinder Singh Sangha,General Secretary of Potato Grower Association.
He also alleged that many potato growers in Doaba are transporting their potatoes to cold stores,purchased by them in other states,so that they can fetch a better price when the demand for seed is higher. This year the wholesale rate of potato is around Rs 700 to 750 per quintal, he added.
Meanwhile,potato growers said that like wheat and paddy,potato must be included in the list of assured Minimum Support Price (MSP) category.
Despite delay in harvesting owing to recent rains,Horticulture development officer Dr Daljeet Singh said that the department is expecting 21 lakhs metric tonnes potato production this year. He informed that the number of cold stores have also been increased and around 18 lakh metric tonnes can be stored in the state.