Dirt-cheap crop a hot potato for Punjab farmers

Unable to sell their produce, angry farmers in the Doaba region have dumped 500 quintals of potato on the road, causing a traffic jam.

Published: 02nd March 2017 12:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd March 2017 05:11 AM   |  A+A-

Farmers dump potatoes on a road at Kartarpur in Jalandhar | PTI

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: When it comes to potatoes, Punjab faces a problem of plenty. Unable to sell their produce, angry farmers in the Doaba region have dumped 500 quintals of potato on the road, causing a traffic jam on the Jalandhar-Amritsar National Highway.

“The Punjab government had asked Markfed and National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to procure the potato crop, but they had failed to do so. So, we dumped about 500 quintals of potatoes on the main chowk in Kartarpur on the Jalandhar-Amritsar National Highway,” said Harmeet Singh Kadian, State president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union.

The trouble began in November when farmers from Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat cancelled their orders for potato seeds from Punjab because demonetisation ensured they could not pay for it.

Usually, Punjab farmers sell around 200 quintals of potato seed at the rate of `3,000 per quintal. This time, the losses are estimated at Rs 1,500 crore. Many farmers, who waited for the prices to stabilise, left their crops standing in the field. But then the new crop came in February, adding to the standing stock and a lot of unsold potatoes already kept in cold storage.

“Post-demonetisation and the coming of the new crop, there has been a crash in potato prices. Now, potatoes are selling at Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 per kg compared to Rs 8 to Rs 10 per kg earlier,” said J S Sangha, Jalandhar Potato Growers Association general secretary. 

“Farmers should dump the potato outside banks if the government doesn’t support them in anyway. The crop dumped yesterday was just a trailer. We will dump the whole crop across the State, as storing it in cold storage costs us much more.”

In an attempt to resolve the crisis, the Punjab government is now trying to export the crop to Russia and Iran.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL2018