Thursday, October 18, 2012



The Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC) of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has advised the farmers to sell the entire cold stored potatoes before the arrival of fresh potato crop in the markets, in order to fetch better returns. Dr Jagrup Singh Sidhu, In-charge, AMIC, PAU, informed that sowing of potato in the state has started and the fresh premature harvested potato crop will start arriving in the markets during December. The fresh potatoes are always preferred by the consumers over the stored ones because it turns sweet during the cold storage, he said. As a result, the cold stored potato produce fetches very low price as compared to the fresh produce, he observed, while suggesting the farmers to dispose off the cold stored potatoes before arrival of fresh potato crop in the market.

Elaborating, Dr Sidhu observed that due to higher potato prices this year, the farmers may be induced to increase area under potato during the coming season. If the weather remains favourable, the expected increase in area may result in over production of potato next year and may adversely affect its prices leading to low returns, he noted. The area and production of potato in the country remained almost same during 2011-12 as that of last year i.e. around 19 lakh hectares and 42 million tones, respectively. Similarly in Punjab, the area and production remained around 84 thousand hectares and 21 lakh tonnes, respectively, during the same period. Dr Sidhu further told that during last six years, area under potato in the state varied between 75 to 84 thousand hectares, production between 12 to 21 lakh tonnes and yield from 16 to 25 tonnes per hectare.

The potato prices in the major markets in the state ruled between Rs 200-400 per quintal during December 2011 to April 2012 and increased sharply during May to October in the range of Rs 550-800 due to high inflation in the country, said Dr Sidhu. If the farmers reduce the area under potato by 10 per cent from 84 thousand hectares during 2011-12 to 75 thousand hectares during 2012-13 in the state, the AMIC has forecast the potato prices in the range of Rs 350-450 per quintal during December 2012 to March 2013, which may further increase during April to November, 2013. Dr Sidhu urged the farmers to keep in mind the above information while taking their potato sowing decisions.

Highlighting the importance of potato, the expert said that the country is the second largest producer of crop with more than 10 per cent share in world potato production after China with a share of 22 per cent. The Punjab state accounts for about 5 per cent of the total potato production in the country, informed he.

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