New Delhi: The state of farmers in the state can be ascertained by the price they get for their produce. If they get any at all, that is. In some parts of Uttar Pradesh for instance, many farmers have had it so bad that their potatoes - worth several crores - are being dumped out of cold storage facilities and onto streets.
According to government estimates, 12 lakh quintal of potatoes were produced in the state last year of which, 6.50 lakh quintal were stored in cold storage facilities. Due to a number of factors - including stagnant rates, almost 60 per cent of potatoes put in cold storage have remained put. Not anymore though.
Owners of cold storage facilities have begun using tractors to take out potato sacks by the hundreds and are dumping them on the streets. Many of them in Farrukhabad - for instance, are ready to dump potatoes worth approximately Rs 200 crores out on the streets. The story gets even grimmer in Kaushambi where farmers owe Rs 220 per quintal of potatoes stored as rent. Most have opted to give up their produce.
We are not able to recover the money we put in to grow potatoes by selling them at the rate they have been at," says Babloo Katiyar, a farmer. "Owners of cold storage centers are also throwing them out because the rent would turn out to be more than the potatoes are even worth."
And owners of cold storage facilities are hardly any better. Because most have not received rent for providing their facilities, they are trying to sell potatoes at Rs 60 to Rs 70 per sack. Whatever remains is thrown.
In a country still suffering from hunger, poverty and malnourishment, the wastage does not just mean a strong stink out in the open but a gross stench of negligence and official apathy.