This is the fourth year in a row that Punjab farmers have been facing losses due to low prices.
Potato prices in Punjab have crashed by half from Rs 600-650 in early June to Rs 300-325 by July-end, hitting farmers badly in the process. This while the middlemen and retailers continue to make money.
In the retail market, potatoes continue to sell at Rs 20-25 per kg (Rs 2000 to 2500 per quintal). The middlemen have been selling at a rate of Rs 10 to 12 per kg (Rs1000 to 1200 per quintal).
Farmers alleged that traders from other states too were responsible for creating glut like situation by aiding a perception that there was no demand of Punjab potato in order to lower prices ahead of potato sowing in various states from September to November month. Punjab’s potato seed considered the best in the country.
“Punjab’s seed is best in the country and every potato growing state takes its seed form here only and if country needs 2.5 mt fresh seed annually, Punjab’s 1.6 mt, which is meant for seed only. So, we should have no problem. Government needs to honour the best seed quality of our state by making some policy as Punjab is blessed to grow best seed by nature due to its soil, geographical location,” said a senior officer in Punjab Horticulture Department.