West Bengal to produce 10% higher potatoes this year

Economy


Kolkata: West Bengal is expected to produce 105 lakh tonnes of potato this year which is 10% higher than last year. This was indicated by Tarun Kanti Ghosh, president of West Bengal Cold Storage Association at its 55th annual general meeting held in Kolkata today.

Mr Ghosh said that even though delayed sowing of seeds due to untimely rain has resulted in 2% to 3 % of less sowing, production of potato in the current year was expected to be around 105 lakh tonnes.

Domestic consumption in West Bengal being 65 lakh tonnes and the balance crop is needed to be marketed outside the state, Ghosh said.

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Commenting about the situation of cold storages in the state, Ghosh said that since extension of storage period for potatoes beyond November has become common experience for almost every year, it is required to include the the quantum of additional rent for extended storage period in the notification for periodical rent revision. He also suggested for enhancement of quantity of locally developed seeds and encouragement and support from the West Bengal for cultivation of export quality potato.

In view of periodical rise in input cost and cost of capital for cold storage, Ghosh demanded raising of cold storage rent to Rs 180 per quintal because cold storage rent in other potato producing states varies from Rs 200 to Rs 250 per quintal. Further, he suggested that cold storage rent calculation should be based on 90% storage capacity instead of 100% storage capacity as utilization of 100% capacity is rarely experienced.

He insisted that the current storage capacity offered by the store units in West Bengal is enough for preservation of potato produced in the state and in view of reduction in demand for potatoes from West Bengal in states like Jharkhand and Bihar, the available storage capacity of the state needs to be restricted to the current level for at least five years.



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