This has been the 3rd consecutive bad year for potato growers. The situation is worsening in Punjab, where the farmers were already battling with the losses of the previous 2 years. This year as well, with the crash in potato prices, the farmers have to face huge losses.
And this is not even the worst situation. What makes it worse is the fact that these farmers still have the stock of potatoes from the last year.
The price of potatoes has crashed to Rs. 3/kg. And because of this, the farmers are not even able to recover their cost prices, let alone get some profit. The total cost price which farmers face is around Rs. 6 to 8, which includes the cost of production, harvesting, and packaging.
Due to suffering major losses, some farmers have even taken drastic steps like committing suicide. The situation is likely to worsen even more since any kind of comfort that the farmers suggested, is not being provided by the government.
Ever since demonetization, the farmers are unable to revive their potato crops. The whole market is crumbling down for the third time in a row. And potato growers are continuing to suffer deeply.
When demonetization was announced, the farmers which were yet to receive the orders, didn’t receive any from the traders. Thus began their way of downfall. This whole farmer business depends on cash transactions. And that was hit the biggest due to demonetization. Due to low cash with states, traders were unable to place orders with these Punjab farmers, and hence they were unable to sell off their lying stock.
The farmers cannot even switch to another crop harvesting, since the investment on appliances and implements is huge. And giving up potatoes would mean even more huge losses for the farmers.
Until and unless the government starts taking some serious measures to uplift this Punjab belt of potato farmers, they will continue to suffer as the potato prices crash down.