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Potato sowing affected in West Bengal due to shortage of manure, farmers’ organizations accuse Center of bias

About 90-100 lakh tonnes of potatoes are produced in Bengal every year. However, last year the production was high and the state produced around 115 lakh tonnes of potatoes.

West Bengal produces 100 lakh tonnes of potatoes every year.

Potato farmers of West Bengal are very upset due to acute shortage of manure. Due to the shortage of fertilizers provided by the central government, they have to buy fertilizers from the open market at very high prices. Due to this 15 lakh potato farmers of the state have got into trouble. Farmers’ organizations are also accusing the central government of favoritism regarding the shortage of manure during the potato sowing season.

Hundreds of farmers from Hooghly, East Burdwan, West Midnapore and Bankura districts are visiting agriculture offices across the state to lodge complaints about the shortage of fertilizers. Farmers are also complaining that retailers are making the most of the crisis and are charging Rs 800-1,000 more than the retail price for a quintal of fertilizer.

Supply fell far short of demand

Talking to The Telegraph newspaper, Agriculture Adviser to the Chief Minister, Pradeep Majumdar said that the state government has already written to the Center about the requirement of fertilizers, but there is acute shortage of potash and DAP. After the shortfall was reported, the Center promised to provide us with adequate DAP in December. Potato sowing is at its peak in the state and there is a special need for manure in this season.

In November, there was a shortfall of about 10-20 per cent in supply of DAP and 40 per cent in supply of MOP in Bengal. The Center had promised to provide 33,000 tonnes of DAP in December to meet the state’s demand. But the Center has said to supply only 8,500 tonnes of potash against the demand of 30,000 tonnes.

Potatoes are sown in the state every year in November and December and are ready in March. Farmers get financial strength from potato cultivation. Farmers earn Rs 10,000 by cultivating paddy on one acre of land. At the same time, they earn up to Rs 50,000 from potato cultivation.

Potato production is up to 100 lakh tonnes

About 90-100 lakh tonnes of potatoes are produced in Bengal every year. However, last year the production was high and the state produced around 115 lakh tonnes of potatoes. Agriculture department officials said that earning from potatoes helps many farmers to run their families.

The central government supplies subsidized fertilizers to thousands of retailers through private agencies to reach farmers across India. Senior state agriculture officials said there is a shortage of fertilizers across the country as the Center has imported less fertilizers than required following a sharp jump in prices in the international market.

States like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana have the highest demand for fertilizers for sowing this Rabi season. However, Amal Halder, state secretary of CPM-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, has accused the Center of supplying more fertilizers to Uttar Pradesh. They say that this is being done because of the elections to be held next year.

Also read- Due to heavy rains, the ready crop of cotton planted in 10,000 hectares was destroyed, now farmers will not be able to recover the cost

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