In a bid to avoid loss, state government may purchase potatoes from the farmers. A primary meeting has been held at Nabanna on the issue. A senior official of the state agriculture department said that potato production has increased to 10 per cent this year than previous year and farmers are not even getting their production cost by selling potato in the open market.
“We are going to take several measures as farmers would not face a huge loss. Even we have withdrawn the ban regarding transporting potatoes to other states and countries,” said the official.
Last year 90 lakh metric ton potatoes were produced from West Bengal and this year potato production is above 100 lakhs metric ton. Currently potato growers are getting Rs 300 to Rs 400 per quintal by selling potatoes in the market. Meanwhile cold storage owners also requested the state government to store potatoes within 15 March instead of 25 March. “State government has a quota of 10 percent for storing potatoes in cold storage. Government purchase potatoes from poor potato farmers as they are unable to store this crop in cold storage,” the official said.
Last year state government also bought potato from farmers and potatoes were supplied to primary schools for mid day meal.
Though final decision has not been taken, but state government is yet to decide regarding extending of the date for storing potatoes in cold storage.
Around 537 cold storages are in the state and government could store around 64 lakh metric ton potato. Like paddy, potato has no minimum support price (MSP), which is another difficulty for the state government to save a farmer from loss.