Friday, October 28, 2011



"Potato is the most important vegetable in India. The country is the second largest producer of potato with more than 10 per cent share in world potato production after China with a share of 22 per cent," disclosed Dr Jagrup Singh Sidhu, In-charge, Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC), Department of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). In India, potato is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Jharkhand. Most of the potato produced in the country is consumed within the country with very little export mainly to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, said Dr Sidhu, adding that Punjab accounts for about 5 per cent of the total potato production in the country. During the last six years, area under potato in the state varied between 75 to 83 thousand hectares, production between 12 to 21 lakh tons and yield from 16 to 25 tons per hectare, told he. As the sowing of potato in the state has started, AMIC has gathered and analyzed market intelligence regarding potato from various sources and forecasted potato prices in the range of Rs. 350-450 per quintal during December 2011 to March 2012 under normal weather conditions, he revealed.

The centre informed that the market prices of potato in major markets in the state ruled between Rs. 225-350 per quintal during December 2010 to April 2011 and Rs. 350-650 during May to November 2010-11. Dr Sidhu told that highly favourable weather during the growing season in all the major potato producing states during 2010-11 resulted into about 13 per cent increase in potato production in the country, from nearly 36 million tons in 2009-10 to more than 40 million tons in 2010-11. This has put downward pressure on its prices during the marketing season, 2010-11, he added. Farmers in Punjab faced price crash this year due to bumper crop and low demand for seed potato from other major potato growing states. Dr Sidhu divulged that around 65% potatoes from all the states so far have been released from cold stores for table and seed purpose and rest will be available till November - December 2011. Harvesting of Kharif potato in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand is almost over and in Karnataka harvesting is expected to continue till the end of October. Thus, huge carry over stock along with Kharif produce is likely to keep prices under pressure, added Dr Sidhu. Early sown potato crop in Punjab will start coming in the market in December which might add to the downward pressure on its prices. In view of the present potato scenario, farmers should be careful in taking their potato sowing decisions, said Dr Sidhu. The AMIC of PAU has advised the farmers to reduce some area under potato to minimize downward pressure on the prices during the coming marketing season.
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