Manmeet Singh Gill
Amritsar, March 30
The comparative low prices of mustard and potato this season have distressed the farmers, especially the mustard growers, after good prices last year. The area under mustard cultivation has significantly increased this year in the district.
The farmers said last year mustard fetched a price of Rs 7,000 per quintal as highest comparison to the opening purchase price of around Rs 4,500 per quintal this year.
The potato growers too reported a significant fall in the price this year. The farmers stated that in Amritsar district, mostly Pukhraj variety of potato is sown. They stated that last year the crop fetched a price of over Rs 900 per quintal which has fallen to nearly Rs 500 per quintal this year.
The farmers added that fixing a minimum support price for these crops is the need of the hour as presently these depend on whims and fancies of the private buyers. “It is not understandable that these crops are fetching a low price even as the prices of mustard oil and potatoes have increased for the consumers,” said Supinder Singh, a farmer.
Harmandeep Singh Chohan, a farmer from Chohan village near Jandiala said, “This season, the farmers have failed to recover their input cost. The input costs on seed, fertilisers, chemicals and labour are around Rs 45,000 per acre for potato and this does not include the rent on the land. If that too is included the cost increases further.”
Singh said that most well-to-do farmers are storing their produce in cold stores hoping that the prices would increase. “But this can be done only by farmers have other sources of income and not are in dire need of money,” added another farmer Surinder Singh.
Farmer leader Dr Satnam Singh Ajnala said, “When the private buyers form a cartel, the poor farmers have no option but to sell the crop at their decided price. The farmer is the only one who does not have any say in fixing the price of his commodity. This is the reason why we demand a minimum support price for the crops other than paddy and wheat.”
Fail to meet input cost
This season, the farmers have failed to recover their input cost. The input costs on seed, fertilisers, chemicals and labour are around Rs 45,000 per acre for potato and this does not include the rent on the land. If that too is included the cost increases further. — Harmandeep Singh, a farmer
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