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Regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Have more potatoes, Mamata says as state faces a glut

The glut has come as a worry for Trinamul ahead of the Lok Sabha polls

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 22.02.19, 08:19 PM
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a record potato procurement of 10 lakh tonnes.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a record potato procurement of 10 lakh tonnes. PTI

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a record potato procurement of 10 lakh tonnes by state agencies in anticipation of a price plunge caused by a bumper crop and urged people to “eat more” of the tuber.

“I would request the people of the state to have more potato…. We have so many potato-based items here, alu sheddho, alu bhaja, alu papri,” Mamata said in Hooghly’s Tarakeswar on Friday.

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“We had requested many farmers to focus on other vegetables too. But my farmer brothers did not pay heed. Now we are looking at substantial wastage because of excess production,” Mamata added.

The government will spend Rs 550 crore on purchasing potatoes, with officials saying the mop-up was the highest ever in recent memory. In 2017, the state had brought 28,000 tonnes of potato at Rs 4.60 a kg following bumper production.

Sources estimate the output at 120 lakh tonnes this year, up from 100 lakh tonnes on average. “This could drive down the price to Rs 3 per kg and leave farmers in serious trouble as the cost is around Rs 3.50,” said an official.

The glut has come as a worry for Trinamul ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Bengal has around 5 lakh potato farmers who influence electoral outcomes in Hooghly, Burdwan, West Midnapore and Birbhum. Other major potato-producing states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have also seen record outputs, shrinking markets for Bengal’s tubers.

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