Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh on Friday asked the government to come up with policy changes to ensure fair and remunerative prices to potato, tomato and onion farmers.

Leading to suicide

Raising the issue during zero hour in the Lok Sabha, he said distress sale of potatoes in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other areas was leading to suicide among growers.

“Farmers are incurring heavy losses because of the abysmally low field price of potato. Due to non-availability of storage, they are forced to sell their produce for a measly Re.1 to Rs.3 per kg, which is less than their input cost.”

Mr. Singh said that according to rough estimates, each potato farmer was incurring a loss of Rs.15,000-Rs.30,000 an acre. Most of the farmers had taken loans towards input cost but even after a good harvest, they were unable to repay the debts.

Prices manipulated

Mr. Singh said the prices were being artificially manipulated by speculators at commodity exchanges. The rent for cold storage should be borne by the government and the interest on loans to potato farmers waived, besides banning speculation on essential commodities.

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