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Potato growers seek better infrastructure

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Seeking better amenities: Potato growers at a meeting in the APMC yard in Hassan on Monday.
Seeking better amenities: Potato growers at a meeting in the APMC yard in Hassan on Monday.

Staff Correspondent

Farmers rue lack of supply of quality seeds

They have been asked to get organised

HASSAN: Potato growers who assembled at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee yard here on Monday urged the Government to provide them with better processing units, a market and storage facility, as well as technical training so that they could process their produce more efficiently.

Addressing the farmers, Kattaya Ravishankar, a farmers’ leader, said the district was geographically and climatically conducive for the cultivation of potato, vegetables and fruits. Every year between three lakh to four lakh tonnes of potato was grown, which yielded a turnover of between Rs. 250 crore and Rs. 300 crore. Ginger and green chilli were also being grown commercially in Sakleshpur, Alur and Arkalgud taluks.

Cabbage grown in the district was transported to other States, he said. Cucumber, brinjal, tomato and green leafy vegetables were also grown in large quantities.

Horticulture

The district was also known for its horticulture crops such as mango, jackfruit and sapota. Jasmine was also grown here, he said.

Mr. Ravishankar expressed regret that despite all this, the Horticulture Department had not provided farmers any training on processing their produce. “Good seeds are not supplied and no marketing facility is present,” he said.

He suggested that farmers form cooperative societies on the lines of the Thotagar’s Cooperative Society (Sirsi), Campco (Puttur) and Mampco (Shimoga) if their interests were to be safeguarded.

Seed shortage

Mr. Ravishankar said that this time there would be a shortage of potato seeds and that prices may go up to Rs. 1,500 a quintal from Rs. 1,200. Pepsico Ltd. sold potato seeds at Rs. 2,000 a quintal to farmers last year. He appealed to the Government to provide quality seeds to farmers at a discount.

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