Ludhiana, August 1: The Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC) of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has advised the farmers to sell the entire cold stored potatoes judiciously during October and November, to fetch better returns. Impressing upon the farmers to keep the track of the prevailing market prices of potato along with maintaining balanced supply, Dr Jagrup Singh Sidhu, Incharge, AMIC, suggested that all the cold stored potatoes be released before the arrival of fresh potato crop in the markets during December.
Dr Sidhu said that during 2011-12, the potato production declined by about 15 to 20 per cent in the major potato producing states, due to inclement weather near harvesting, during the months of January and February. Consequently, the potato prices started escalating every month since April 2012 due to dwindling potato stocks in the cold stores, he said, adding that this trend may continue till November. During December, the fresh pre-mature harvested potato crop will start arriving in the markets. The fresh potatoes are always preferred by consumers over the stored crop because it turns sweet during the cold storage, he noted. As a result, the cold stored potato produce may fetch low prices as compared to the fresh produce, he said, advising the farmers to sell cold stored potatoes before December, said he.
Due to higher potato prices this year, the farmers may be induced to increase area under potato during the coming season, added Dr Sidhu. If the weather remains favorable, the expected increase in area may result into over production of potato in the next year and may adversely affect its prices leading to low returns. Therefore, the state farmers should maintain the present level of acreage under the crop so that the demand and supply is balanced, he emphasised.