West Bengal has experienced a sharp rise in potato production in 2016. The cultivation has gone up to 138 lakh metric tonne compared to that of 120 lakh metric tonne in the previous year.
It is a good sign at the beginning of the year as it is expected that the farmers will be benefitted with the increased in production. The state government also got reports that potato plants getting infected by diseases in some parts of Hooghly mainly in Arambagh. It may be mentioned that Hooghly is a district which is known for the cultivation of potato every year.
The state agriculture department has taken necessary steps to assist the farmers to save the cultivation from the diseases. “We don’t want any farmers incur loss and the state government will provide all sort of help in this regard,” said an official of the department.
West Bengal is the second largest producer of vegetables after Uttar Pradesh. Thus, with the increase in the production of potato, farmers are now expecting that they can export it to neighbouring states after selling them in Bengal.
It may be mentioned that there was scarcity of potato in the state due to low production in the previous years. Even export to neighbouring states had to be restricted.
According to the department, this time the picture will be completely different. Farmer does not have to make any loss nor will common people be harassed due to increase in potato price.
A farmer from Hooghly district said they need to spend around Rs 20,000 to cultivate potato on one bigha land. If the yield is good, then they will be able to produce 80 bags of potatoes each containing 50 kg. Thus the production cost of each bag will be around Rs 250. “It will be good if we can sell each bag of potatoes at a rate of Rs 275 to Rs 300 and we can make some profit,” the farmer said.
He further said, “With the setting up of the kishan mandis, the task to sell out potatoes at a right price is no more difficult. The district administration helps a lot to get right price and middlemen do not get a chance to make money by selling potatoes a high price. As a result, price of potatoes do not get skyrocketed unnecessarily.”