Growers destroy crops as prices plummet


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27 June 2023
Production volumes increase but prices too low to justify input costs.

POTATO prices have spiralled downwards in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and some other Indian states, leading to many growers deciding to destroy their crops.

The price of potatoes has dropped to Rs500 per 100kgs this year, from an average of Rs1,200 per 100 kgs last year. Growers say they can't afford to sell potatoes below Rs900 per 100kg with current input costs.

Prices have also seen a sizeable drop in Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Unable to get prices of more than Rs3 per kg, Punjab growers have begun destroying their crop.

Gluts of potato, as well as onion, tomato and other vegetables, has become commonplace in India owing to over-production.

In January, the Hindu Businessline predicted that the country's potato production was likely to be 5% higher as acreage was rising and favourable weather conditions boosted output. Most of the key producing districts had seen a 3-5% increase in the area under cultivation compared to the same time last year.

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The Economic Times also reported in February that prices had crashed to half from a year earlier, amid a glut in production in the major producing states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab.

Wholesale prices have been far below the production cost and traders expected prices to remain low this year because of high production.

The Central Potato Research Institute (ICAR), based in Shimla, says there has been a phenomenal increase in potato area (8.5 times), production (29.4 times) and productivity (3.5 times) over six decades.

Sources: Hindu BusinesslineEconomic Times, ICAR

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