BARGARH: The farmers of Ambabhona block on Friday dumped their harvested potato in the corridor of Bargarh Collectorate building protesting negligence on the part of Government agency, Markfed, in procurement of tuber.
Though Markfed has been asked by the State Government to procure 3,000 tonnes of potato from the district, it lifted only 183 tonnes from Bargarh block before making a vanishing act.
Though the Government had finalised March 29 and 30 for Markfed to procure tuber from Ambabhona block, officials of the agency did not turn up at the block, claimed the farmers.
Meanwhile, unable to bear the burden of mounting losses the farmers decided to dump their produce on the Collectorate premises, said one of the farmers.
Accordingly, the farmers of Beniapali, Baddhara and Lakhanpur brought a truckload of potato and dumped it on the corridor outside Collector’s chamber on Friday. The farmers had also apprised Collector Anjan Kumar Manik about their plight and requested him to arrange for early procurement of the produce to prevent the stock from rotting.
Soon after, the Collector roped in some local traders who procured 117 bags of potato at ` six per kg from the farmers of Ambabhona block on Friday.
Potato was cultivated in 110 acres of land in drought-prone Ambabhona block but in absence of buyers and stock rotting due to extreme climate, the farmers fear the worst.
The farmers of Ambabhona are among hundreds of other farmers of Bhatli, Bargarh and Bheden blocks in the district who were attracted to potato cultivation after the State Government promoted it in a big way following curbs on the import of tuber from the neighbouring West Bengal last year.
Although many farmers shifted to potato cultivation from paddy, the price offered by the traders was too meagre.
Moreover, in absence of cold storage facility in the district and inability of the farmers to hold back the crop to avoid mounting interest, the farmers were forced to sell their produce between ` two and ` four per kg to the private buyers.