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Floods, price drop a double whammy to potato farmers

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The Times Of India
22nd October, 2019 04:16 IST

Dharwad: After the loss and hardship suffered because of heavy rains and floods, the farmers in Dharwad district are facing the problem of crop loss. After two successive droughts, the farmers in part of the district were expecting good yield in Kharif after it started raining. They were initially cheered by the rains but continuous incessant rains dashed their hopes of retaining the crop.

Traditional potato farmers have been hit hard this time as potato grown in 1,300 hectares in the district has been damaged.

Heavy rain in August and September spelt doom for potato cultivators. Villages on the banks of Tuppari Halla like Narendra, Hangaraki, Lakamapur and Tadakod in Dharwad district are known for cultivation of good quality potato. Farmers here were expecting to make up for the loss they suffered for two years. But their expectations were belied as the overflowing Tuppari Halla flooded their fields and damaged the crop. The farmers are now worried as they have not been able to at least recover the money spent on buying seeds and other inputs.

Arjun a farmer from Lakamapur said he had purchased seeds for five acres by paying Rs 20,000 and everything has been washed away. “The potato has started rotting due to excess moisture in the soil. We are unable to even enter the field to remove the rotten crop,” he said.

To rub salt on their wound, the price of potato has nosedived in the market. Instead of the usual Rs 2,300 per quintal of fair average quality potato, the price has come down to Rs 1,500-1,600.

At this price, farmers can't even save a single penny after spending money on fertilizer and labourers, Humberi said. Some farmers are looking for alternative crops like wheat and jowar.

Ramachandra, deputy director of Horticulture said, last year, potato was grown in 1,089 hectares and this year the area of cultivation had increased. The yield last year was 17,420 tonnes. But this time, hundreds of acres of potato have been damaged due to heavy rains, resulting in low yield, he said.

The crop loss has been estimated and a report has been submitted to the government. The list of more than thousand farmers who had suffered crop-loss has also been sent, he added.

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