Known as the king of vegetables, the potato is in high demand in countries outside of India. While potatoes are widespread and readily available in India, the vegetable is bought at extortionate prices abroad.
According to India Today, around 6,000 quintals of potatoes will be exported from Agra to meet demand from hotels and homes in Malaysia, Qatar and Dubai.
After de-registering trucks loaded with potatoes today, Agra’s Chief Development Officer A Manikandan told India Today that farmers have been paid Rs 900 per quintal to export potatoes, while the government’s procurement price has been fixed at Rs 650 per quintal. In this situation, the export of potatoes turns out to be a profitable business for these farmers.
Kaushal Kishore, deputy director of horticulture, told India Today that Siddhi Vinayak Agro Processing Khandauli (Agra), in cooperation with the Ministry of Horticulture and the Uttar Pradesh State Horticulture Cooperative Marketing Federation, exported 6,000 quintals of potatoes abroad to ensure that potato farmers get the best price for their products. Around 3,000 quintals of potatoes were sent to Malaysia and 3,000 quintals of potatoes to Dubai and Qatar.
Many trucks with potatoes were also transported from Agra to Himmatnagar in Gujarat where they are exported to other countries via Mundra port. This LR variety potato was exported at a price of Rs 900 per quintal.
Potato farmer Murarilal told India Today potatoes are selling at Rs 4 per kg at the weekly Haat in Midhakur town in Agra, while lemon prices have skyrocketed.
Nirauti Lal, a Nagla Laldas resident who sells vegetables at the market, explained that such apathy towards potatoes has not been observed in several years. At the moment, a kilogram of potato costs only 4 rupees, while a kilogram of lemon costs 200 rupees. Green chillies are priced at 100-150 rupees per kg and ginger at 800-100 rupees per kg.
Vishal Sharma, vice-chairman of Hindustani Biradari, stated that it is time for farmers to reduce potato cultivation and focus on cultivation of other vegetables as it is difficult to recover the cost of potato cultivation at current prices to bring in. When the potato acreage is reduced, the demand for potatoes increases and so does the price. In addition, it is important to concentrate on the cultivation of advanced potato varieties. Such varieties should be grown which are in high demand abroad, since good prices for potatoes are not available in the Indian market, while potatoes exported abroad fetch good prices.