Bengal farmers protest against falling prices of potatoes

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Hooghly (West Bengal), July 18 : In a novel protest, farmers here threw potatoes on the national highway, demanding that the government should intervene to arrest falling prices.

Potato farmers of Hooghly district threw about 500 bags of potatoes weighing about 25,000 kilograms potatoes on the National Highway-2 linking Delhi and Kolkata.

According to agriculture experts, the acreage under potato cultivation is 90,000 hectares of land in Hooghly alone with a yield of 2.2 million tons.

Other districts in West Bengal, including South and North Dinajpur, Burdwan, Coochbehar and Jalpaiguri have also reaped a bounty harvest.s a result of supply glut, farmers are not getting a proper price for their yield and the situation has led to a crisis.

Farmers want the State Government to fix the price of potatoes per bag at 150 rupees. Currently, they get 70-80 rupees, which they claim is not even fetching the production cost, forget profit.

"In one sack, we are incurring loss of 60-70 rupees. To highlight our problems and to attract the attention of the authorities, we have thrown the potatoes on the road. We hope that the authorities will interfere and take appropriate action," said Sheikh Mannan Sarkar, a farmer.

West Bengal stands at number two among all the potato producing states in India. About sixty per cent of the potato produced in the state is grown in two adjacent districts of Bardhaman and Hooghly.

Potato is cultivated in about 318,200 hectares of land in Bengal.

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