New Delhi: After months of hard work in the fields, farmers yearn for better crops, but bumper harvest of potato in the country this season has given them sleepless nights.

The price of potatoes has hit an all-time low and farmers along with the cold storage owners are unable to recover the cost of production.

Due to the high production and low cost of potato in the market, banks fear that loans given to  the farmers might not be recovered thereby creating problem for banks as these loans might get converted into Non Performing Assets (NPA).

The increase in area of cultivation and an estimated 15 percent rise in production is the main reason behind the fall in prices.

With fresh potato already available in the market, nobody is paying attention to the stocked potatoes lying in the cold storages since one year.

Cold storages in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are full with several lakh tonnes of potato making it difficult for the new harvest to be stored due to lack of storage facilities.

On the other hand, the farmers are unwilling to sell their last yield of potato lying in cold storages, as the market price of potato is very low in comparison with the production cost, for which they have taken loans from banks.

Looking at the current scenario, cold storage owners association has requested government to relax norms for returning loans to the banks.

This season potato was cultivated in 5.75 lakh hectare in Utter Pradesh, four lakh hectare in West Bengal and 3.5 lakh hectare in Bihar. While farmers in Haryana and Punjab are ahead in the potato cultivation but total area of cultivation is only 1.5 lakh hectare in both the states.

(JPN/Bureau)