Coochbehar: With prices of potatoes plunging by 50 per cent, potato farmers in northern regions of West Bengal are faced with an acute crisis since the beginning of this year.
Last year, the farmers say they sold potatoes for Rs 8-Rs 9 per kg, which is exactly the double amount of money they received this year i.e, Rs 4.50 to Rs 5 for one kg.
Akhbar Miya, a potato farmer here says, “I have 6.5 bighas of land where I have already spent rupees 1.2 lakhs but in return I have received only Rs 55,000. From the next season onward I have to think whether to continue potato farming or not.”
Current potato crop prices are available in market at Rs 15 per kilogram.
It has also been observed that farmers who sow cold storage seeds have incurred more losses compared to certified seed.
Jaganath, another farmer says, “One cannot run a family depending on agriculture alone. We need to have another source of income for earning a livelihood.”
Unable to reimburse losses incurred several potato farmers here are gradually moving away from traditional means of livelihood in search of new source of income.
Ujibar Miya a potato farmer said, “this season we are not getting what we expected.”
“Moreover, with every bigha of land we incur losses which amounts between Rs 5000 to Rs 7000,” he said.
From northern Bengal, potatoes mostly go to places in Assam and Meghalaya, however this year has seen lesser demand for this crop.