Even after marathon meetings with wholesale potato merchants, DCV Anbukumar failed to get them to reduce the potato seed prices. The merchants refused to lower their price of Rs 2,200 per quintal.
At a meeting on Monday, the DC expressed concern over the increasing prices of potato seeds and the decreasing potato growing area from 56,000 hectares to 20,000 hectares in the district for the past few years.
Anbukumar said that the prices were exorbitant for the small growers. He said there is a big difference in the prices fixed by the local merchants and the merchants of Jalandhar who have been sending seeds to Hassan for the past two decades. The district authority can talk to the wholesalers in Jalandhar if the local merchants would negotiate, he said.
The DC objected to District Potato Merchants Association president Gopal’s remark that the district authority was allegedly blackmailing and harassing the wholesale merchants. He warned that he would not tolerate such accusations against the officials.
He clarified that he was holding the meeting only for the benefit of the small farmers and that he personally has no authority to fix the price. He chaired another meeting to fix the price of the crop but the merchants stuck to their prices.
Ramegowda, a small potato grower from Adagur, said the merchants could have reduced the prices in the interest of the small growers.