Mamata government to buy potatoes, give subsidy to stop distress sales

Kolkata  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said the state government has decided to buy 28,000 tonnes of potatoes monthly from the farmers at a ‘remunerative price’ and also provide subsidy for exporting the crop to prevent distress sales.

“We have a bumper production of potato this year and farmers are compelled to sell potato at distressed prices. They have no alternatives but to sell potatoes at Rs 2.50-Rs 3 a kg.

“In order to prevent distress sales, we have decided to buy 28,000 tonnes potato per month directly from the farmers for midday meal scheme and Anganwadi centres. We will buy potatoes at Rs 4.60 a kg which is a remunerative price,” she said.

“In order to facilitate farmers for exporting potatoes, we have also decided to provide subsidy of Rs 0.50 a kg for railways transportation and of Re 1 per kg for shipping out through ships,” she added.

Many farmers have been facing hardship due to demonetisation, she said.

With a favourable climatic condition and higher yield, the potato production is expected to touch 110-115 lakh tonnes this year in the state while it was around 90-95 lakh tonnes last year. The bumper crop, however, has brought down the market price significantly.

Last week, agricultural scientists and experts had said higher production of processing varieties, seed generation within the state and contract farming could help in averting distress sales.