April 22, 2014
M RAFIQUE GORAYA
A joint meeting of different farmers’ organisations; Farmers’ Associates Pakistan, Okara Potato Growers’ Society and Pakistan Kissan Ittehad have expressed deep concern over some media reports suggesting a shortage of edible potato in the country.
Farmers’ representatives said here on Monday that 18 to 20 percent of winter crop was still in the fields while harvesting of spring crop had also started. Thousands of tonnes of potatoes were also stored in cold storages all over Punjab for supply to consumers of urban areas without a break and arrival of summer crop from northern areas of Pakistan will start in June.
Presently, maximum retail price of table potato is Rs 60 per kg, which is cheaper than all available vegetables. Potato is freely available from farmers’ fields at Rs 40 per kg because of unfavourable weather and cost of production of potato has gone upto Rs 35 per kg.
Farmers felt that the propaganda was only aimed at facilitating import of potato from India. Indian government is giving huge subsidy to its agriculture productions and export of agricultural commodities. Import of duty-free potato from India will ruin Pakistani farmers and then Pakistani public will be at the mercy of India for years to come.
All farmers’ organisation unanimously demanded that instead of reducing the duty on import of potato, it should be increased up to 50 percent. It is important to mention here that India has banned the import of potato from Pakistan to safeguard its own farmers. The meeting was also attended by Dr Tariq Bucha, President, FAP; Chaudhry Maqsood Jutt, Afzal Haider Rizvi, Malik Ali Qadar of Okara Potato Growers’ Society; and Khalid Mehmood Khokhar, Haji Liaqat Ali, Chaudhry Salman Ashiq of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad.