Saturday, 22 January, 2022

Fair price eludes potato farmers

Potato is termed as the king of all vegetables due to its multi-purpose utility. It can easily be used for just about any cooking application. Preparing a delicious potato dish does not have to be that much difficult. It is as simple as throwing potatoes in the oven with some oil and salt to give us some of the best snacks and meals. From French fries to potato mash to a simple aloo sabzi, potatoes never disappoint us.

Potatoes are more fulfilling and easier to grow, especially when the country's population is booming at a high pace. As it is rich in nutrients and can easily make a delicious treat, it has gained quick popularity among the masses. Now, it has turned into the country's second biggest vegetable crop after rice. Because of favourable weather and cultivation of high yielding varieties of the crop, potato production is rising in the country every year. Now, Bangladesh is the seventh potato-producing country in the world, according to the FAO statistic of 2020.

The country has been witnessing huge production of the vegetable for the past 10 years. This year, it has produced the biggest ever potato crop of over eight million tonnes, three million tonnes more than that of last year. Despite bumper production, the farmers are not getting fair prices in the absence of proper marketing facilities. Export of potato has not increased in proportion to its production. The situation has become so miserable due to lack of responsibility on the part of the authorities concerned who bothered less to explore markets abroad. The government should immediately look into the matter by taking steps against the guilty officials.

As per sources close to the Bangladesh Cold Storage Association, growers and cold storage owners may face Tk 40 billion losses this year as potatoes in huge quantities lie unsold at warehouses in the country. Relevant authorities should take immediate measures to increase the potato marketing facilities including its export.

We can never let the potatoes, which always provide us a strong food backing, rot and perish. Since commodity prices abnormally soared, lots of people had to skip one or two meals a day. In this situation, potatoes are their last resort.