The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Potato burden

Calcutta, Jan. 13: The state government will soon go knocking on the doors of other states to sell about 40 lakh tonnes of potatoes to help farmers avoid distress sale.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is expected to convene a meeting shortly to discuss ways of tackling the crisis.

“We are expecting a bumper crop of potatoes this year. Over 80 lakh tonnes of the crop are due for harvest between February 20 and March 20. If the government does not arrange for export of potatoes to other states, the farmers will have to suffer distress sale,” said an official of the agriculture department.

Last year, the state produced around 77 lakh tonnes of potatoes of which nearly 20 lakh tonnes were exported to Madhya Pradesh. “Potatoes went to Madhya Pradesh by wagons last year and the farmers got a good price of about Rs 2 per kg. If such an arrangement can’t be made this year, too, a few lakh tonnes will rot as such a huge amount of potatoes cannot be kept in cold-storage,” an official said.

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