Govt set to procure 50,000 MT potato
New Delhi: In a major move aimed at making available politically sensitive commodity potatoes at an affordable price throughout the year, the government has decided to procure 50,000 MT potatoes from farmers to stabilise the prices of root vegetable.
According to a senior official, procurement of potatoes would be initiated under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF). "The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has asked Nafed and National Cooperative Consumers' Federation (NCCF) to procure the essential commodity from farmers. Both the Central agencies would procure 25,000 MT potatoes each," the official said.
The official further stated that procurement of potato would start only after getting a detailed crop production data from the Union Agriculture Ministry. "It's not yet clear about the shortfall in the production of the crop. The quantity of procurement would be increased or decreased on the basis of production data," the official said.
"We have sought production data from Agriculture Ministry and after evaluating the report, procurement would be initiated. We are hoping that production data would be submitted by Agriculture Ministry soon," the official said, adding that it's for the first time that the process to procure potatoes has been initiated.
Hailing the decision, Ganesh Nanote, a farmer from Maharashtra, said, "It's a good move as it would not only help farmers in getting better price of their produce but also ensure the availability of the vegetable at an affordable price during the peak season when prices tough the sky."
In another move, the government has also asked Nafed to procure about 30,000 tonne of onions from Nashik, the onion producing district in Maharashtra.
Notably, the wholesale prices of potato in West Bengal have started rising as the state has witnessed a 14 per cent drop in production this year. Given the price trend, the Odisha government is also mulling to create a buffer stock. The state government has also decided to purchase potatoes worth Rs 28-30 crore through Nafed for market intervention.