Growers, traders face great trouble their unsold potato

Growers, traders face great trouble their unsold potato

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Potato traders and growers have been facing an embarrassing situation with their huge unsold potato due to less market price in the district.
According to the sources concerned, the huge potato remained stockpiled in 26 cold storages as the owners didn’t lift those due to dull market price and supposed to fail payment of cold storage fare with the sale proceed.
In comparison to the previous years, more than 70 percent potatoes are supposed to be released from the cold storages at this time. But, above fifty percent potato remain in the storages.
Rahim Uddin, a producer of Bargachhi village under Paba Upazila, said the present market-price is much unexpected for the traders and growers that make them discouraged to lift their preserved goods from the storages.
An 86-kilogram potato sack is being sold at Taka 600 to 650 in different wholesale markets and other village level growth centers at present which is half of the total production and storage costs worth Taka 1200 to 1300. In this situation, the farmers are being compelled to incur loss of Taka 600 to 650 per bags. For the last couple of years, many of the farmers were found encouraged to cultivate potato with promotion of modern farming system including hybrid variety.Most of the farmers were seen opting for high yielding potato varieties and adopting scientific methods of cultivation, resulting in bumper yield, said Abu Bakkar Ali, president of Rajshahi Cold Storage Owners Association.
But the potato growers incurred losses this year as they did not get fair price of their produce, he said. To overcome the loss, he sought government intervention for exporting potato.
There had been a bumper production of potato in Rajshahi last harvesting season due to favourable climatic condition. But the bumper production could not bring fruit for the growers for low price of potato, which could not cover production cost, he added.
‘The farmers are not happy over the market price. For inadequate preservation facilities in the region, they are forced to sell their potatoes at low price incurring loss,’ he also said.
This adverse situation would have impact on the cultivation of potato in the region in the years ahead as the growers would surely loss their interest to cultivate potato again, he said.
Many of the farmers had cultivated the crop after borrowing money from different banks, money lenders and NGOs. But, at this odd situation how they will repay the loans, he poses question.
Abu Bakker says the government should take immediate measures after taking the problematic matter into kind and sincere consideration. “We have no way but to protect the interests of the producers to boost the agriculture sector”, he added.
Muhammad Ali Sarker, owner of Raj Cold Storage, said, ‘The government is initiating many safety-net programmes including VGF, VGD, OMS, FW and so on for vulnerable group development. It will be a great solution if government includes potato in the programmes which will help the farmers to get a reasonable price,’ he said. –BSS, Rajshahi

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