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Yogi Adityanath may have peeled off one layer of potato but there are more to go

Author: Sanjeev Singh
Publication: The Times of India
Date: April 12, 2017
URL:    http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sanjeev-singh-blog/yogi-adityanath-may-have-peeled-off-one-layer-of-potato-but-there-are-more-to-go/

The pro-farmer push being led by Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh should bring smiles back on beleaguered farmers in the state. On Tuesday the government decided to purvchase potatoes directly from farmers in a bid to cut wastage and provide maximum monetary benefit. UP is the largest producer of potato in the country and Agra was the largest potato producing district in the country for many years till Gujarat’s Banaskantha displaced it this year.

One of the biggest problems faced by the agriculture sector is large-scale losses of crops after the harvesting period. Farmers toil in the rain and sun only to see their hard work being wasted due to shortage of storage facilities across the country. As per a 2015 study commissioned by the ministry of food processing, quantitative harvest and post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables ranges between 6.70% to 15.88% for fruits and from 4.58% to 12.44% in vegetables. The reasons range from sorting/grading and packaging to transportation and storage channels.

In a first, UP govt to purchase potatoes from farmers directly https://t.co/U941AArind

— TOI Lucknow News (@TOILucknow) April 12, 2017


As per data available from parliament, India has 32 million cold stores (Bulk & distribution hubs) but requires additional 3 million more. As far as reefer trucks are concerned, India needs around 62,000 units compared to the current number of less than 10,000. If we look at the larger picture, almost 8679 tonnes of food grain was damaged across FCI godowns in 2016-17 as compared to 3115 tonnes for the previous year of 2015-16. UP lost about 13,513 tonnes of food grains in 2015-16 alone.

Centre okays decision to procure 1 lakh MT potatoes from UP farmers https://t.co/26BG7S6IMD

— TOI Lucknow News (@TOILucknow) April 11, 2017


Yogi’s government must be given credit for reaching out to farmers but it needs to have a robust storage and disposal plan in place as well. Else farmers will find it difficult to get out of the vicious cycle.
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