Jalandhar, Jan 11: Even as a new harvesting season has begun, Punjab’s farmers are staring at bleak prospects with potato prices, that had hit rock-bottom last year, not showing signs of returning to previous levels.
About 10 per cent of the current season’s total harvest has been sold and the prices have stuck somewhere between Rs 150 and Rs 300 per quintal, according to the Punjab Horticulture Department. Farmers are apprehensive about the remuneration this year too, though the production is expected to be higher owing to favourable climatic conditions. About 80 per cent of the harvest in Punjab comes during the peak season of February and March.
Potato prices had slumped to just Rs 10 for a bag of 100 kg (one quintal) last year, leaving farmers in tears — and most of them chose to throw their produce on the roads to rot.
According to the Punjab government, production this year is expected to be over 2.5 million tonnes. “If the weather is congenial and potato plants are not infected by the blight, overall yield will be good. Currently the rates are not good, I heard,” Gulab Singh Gill, Deputy Director (Horticulture) said.
What concerns the farmers more is uncertainty over remunerative prices for their harvest when it hits the market during the peak season, said Gurinder Singh Kang, a potato grower from Jalandhar’s Lallian Kalan village.(IANS)
“There is neither much fog nor initiation of blight disease. The climate is quite favorable for optimum output. However, there is an apprehension among farmers and traders whether they will get a fair price as current rates are at below Rs 3 for a kg,” Kang said. (IANS)