IT’S A happy time for the potato farmers of Punjab, with their crop hitting the highest rate ever known due to low production in other states owing to a delayed monsoon last year.
Farmers are currently getting Rs 1,600 per quintal for their table crop, which is being lifted from their fields by the traders. For the past four years, they had been getting Rs 300 to Rs 400 per quintal. Traders and stockists of other states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are hoping to get higher prices after purchasing the crop at this rate from Punjab.
Before this, the highest rate for their potato crop was recorded in 2013-14, when it was Rs 1,200-1,300 per quintal.
“My family has been cultivating potato for the past four decades. I have been doing for the last three decades. I never got Rs 1,500 to 1,600 per quintal for my crop,” said farmer Gurmail Singh, who sows potato on a 150-acre plot.
“I hope to recover half my losses which I suffered in the past 5-6 years due to the abysmal rate of the crop,” he added.
Apart from the high rate of the table crop, the varieties meant for processing purposes to make chips, potato fingers, etc. are being sold at the rate of Rs 25 to 30 per kg by farmers to traders. The rate of seed is also between Rs 18 to 22 per kg currently.
Jagtar Singh, a farmer from Nakodar, said, “This is the highest rate I have seen, and I have been growing potatoes for over two decades. “I am selling the seed potato as well as table potato when the market is up instead of storing the crop in cold stores as I want to recover all my losses,” he added.
State Nodal Officer Dr Paramjit Singh said, “It is an excellent year for potato growers of Punjab who are fetching the highest ever rate due to less production in other states last year, when heavy rains lashed several potato-growing states in September–October.”
“We are expecting that several cold stores of potato will either remain vacant or fill partially because farmers are clearing the stock side by side the harvesting, which is nearly 90 per cent complete and is expected to be over by the end of this month,” said the officer.
Punjab is expected to produce around 28 lakh tonnes of potato from around 1.05 lakh hectares this harvesting season. While 65 per cent of the state’s potato is used for seeds across the country as well as in the state, the remaining is used as table crop. The yield of table crop in the state is 12-14 tonnes per acre while the yield of seed potato is 8-10 tonnes per acre. Farmers are spending Rs 6.50 to grow 1 kg potato.
The Doaba region has the best conditions for seed potato production not only because of the region’s deep sandy loam soils, but also because the October-December period is relatively free of aphid attacks here. There are big potato farms here, apart from and the Central Potato Research Institute’s regional station and Potato Center for Excellence in Jalandhar.
Varieties like Kufri Jyoti, Kufri Chipsona, Kufri Pukhraj, Badshah, Diamond, Chandramukhi and Sultana are grown here.
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