Potato farmers too threaten to commit suicide in West Bengal

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Burdwan (West Bengal), April 3 : Despite a bumper yield of potato this year in West Bengal, farmers are a dejected lot. The common complaint is that they have not been able to recover the input cost and the government has done little for help.

Farmers here say that they do not have money to cultivate their land for the next crop. Since whatever was earned from the bumper crop had been spent on clearing off loans and other dues.

The scenario is so difficult that a farmer from State's Burdwan district reported to have ended his life after learning that his entire earning was a way short to clear off his bank loans.

"The expenses incurred on one Bigha of land is about rupees 14,000 while their bumper yield is being sold at rupees 7,000 as such all their toil have been in vain," said Shyamal Pakhija, a farmer from Gopalnagar."

He wanted government's help for farmers.

"If government is considerate about us and does something, we will be grateful. For, if we are unable to sell the total produce, we will incur huge losses, resulting in suicides amongst farmers," said Shyamal Pakhija, a farmer from Gopalnagar.

Farmers from Hooghly District have blamed the Government of not being considerate to their plight.

Meanwhile an expert in agriculture, Alik Kumar Mondal mentioned that this time potato had been cultivated in about 90,000 hectares of land in Hooghly alone for an overall yield of 22 lakh (2.2 million) metric tones. It was six lakh (.6 million) metric tonnes short of a record production of 28 lakh (2.8 million) metric tonnes.

However, even these 2.2 million metric tonnes of potatoes have no takers, as all the other Districts in Bengal like South and North Paraganas, Dinajpur, Burdwan, Coochbehar and Jalpaiguri, have also experienced ample production of potatoes.

"This year though there has been 4.5 lakhs of storage production which the farmers do not have to throw. as it is enough for the consumption yet the farmers have not received the desired returns due to less number of buyers in the markets," said Alok Kumar Mondal.

Moreover, after the incident of potato farmer committing suicide, the government has announced that it would buy potato from farmers at the rate of rupees 2.50 per kilogram. By Soma Mitra

ANI

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