Amid a sharp decline in the price of potatoes in Uttar Pradesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Dinesh Pratap Singh on Sunday said that if the prices of potatoes fall below Rs 650 per quintal, then the government will buy the produce from farmers.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLC also refuted the claims of a fall in the prices of potatoes and said that the farmers are being given a fair price. “Our storage capacity is 50 per cent empty so farmers need not worry. The government will buy potatoes from farmers wherever potato price falls below Rs 650 per quintal,” Dinesh Singh said.
He also said that the State government is in process of exporting potatoes globally.
“We are in the process of exporting potatoes to many countries. We have sent potatoes to Nepal and 600 quintals of potatoes have been sent from Agra to Qatar and Malaysia,” he said, adding that the government will also export the potatoes to Dubai.
Earlier on Saturday, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav slammed the central government for offering low minimum support prices to the farmers which would not cover the cost of production.
Taking to Twitter, the SP chief said, “Problems of potato producing farmers of UP in BJP government: Continuous increase in the cost of potatoes.”
“It is also difficult to extract the cost due to the low price – not getting tokens for storage spending nights outside in cold storage; continuous rejection of the demand for MSP by the BJP government; potatoes will change the government this time,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shivpal Singh Yadav said, “Government’s order to buy potatoes at the rate of Rs 650 per quintal… Not enough sir! This support price is a joke for a farmer who buys seeds at the rate of Rs 2,500 per quintal.”
“The government should purchase potatoes at a minimum rate of Rs 1,500 per packet. At least the government should give the cost,” he added.
The farmers in UP have been complaining that potato prices have spiralled downwards.
Due to an excessive supply of potatoes, prices have fallen down to half from a year earlier in several states including Uttar Pradesh.
The farmers are staring at a loss as the wholesale price has dipped below the production cost. As per some reports, the common variety of potatoes is priced at Rs 12-15 a kg, while the better variety is fetching Rs 18-19, which is half as compared to the last year.
Notably, the sowing of potatoes usually begins in November, and the crop is harvested subsequently in the month of January.
As per some reports, Uttar Pradesh, which is the largest producer of the potato crop, has witnessed a 15 per cent increase in production in the latest crop season compared with a year earlier, when the state had produced 15.5 million tonnes of potatoes.