August 10, 2022, 5:19 pm

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In Joypurhat Potato market collapse farmers and traders worried

Nazrul Islam, Joypurhat: Local farmers, traders and cold storage owners are worried about the abnormal fall in potato prices in potato markets in Joypurhat.Joypurhat is the second highest potato production district in the country. On the one hand, potato market collapses, potato exports abroad have come down to zero as the corona virus outbreak has increased. Marginal farmers, potato traders and cold storage owners will sit on the road unless the government takes immediate action to export potatoes abroad, knowledgeable persons said.

For the last nine years, I have been exporting potatoes to eight countries outside the world, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Nepal, Russia and Dubai, said Md. Sujaul Islam, owner of “Index Enterprise”, a non-governmental potato exporting company in KalaiUpazila, Joypurhat. They are not showing interest in taking potatoes as the corona virus outbreak has increased recently. I’m spending my days in worry in this situation. At present, many workers involved in the industry have become unemployed.

This year 41,315 hectares potato has been cultivated in the district. Potato production is 960,000 metric tons. Joypurhat is known as the surplus district in potato production. Due to good yield in the district, local farmers have stored Ganola, Musica, Diamond, Astorics, Cardinal, Roseta and indigenous varieties of potatoes in various cold storages. About 185,000 metric tons of potatoes have been stored in 15 cold storages in the district. Potatoes came out of the cold storages in June last year at 25 to 30 per cent. The price was Tk1200 to 1300 per sack at that time. Potato stores have come out of less than 4-5 per cent at the same time this year. The current market price of potatoes has come down from Tk 850 to Tk 900 per sack.

Farmers,businessmen and cold storage owners say farmers have saved potatoes at their home this year due to bumper yields. In this situation, if the government does not take necessary steps to export potatoes, they will face losses. Moreover, the farmer puts some potatoes in cold storages to buy fertilizers and seeds. If the price of that potato goes down, the farmer will suffer to buy fertilizers, seeds and pesticides. Ratan Kumar, managing director ofSalamin Foods Ltd. said that if the market is down compared to the price of potatoes produced, farmers and traders will leave them in the cold storages without extracting and selling potatoes. As a result, they will have to face extreme losses. In this situation, it is important for the government to take immediate action now.

S M Meftahul Bari,Deputy Director ofJoypurhat Agricultural Extension Department said that the district has produced more potatoes than the target. Most farmers have stored potatoes in local cold storages. If the farmer does not get the price in potatoes, they will suffer severe losses and potato cultivation is likely to be disrupted next season.

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