Mysterious disease affects potato cultivation in West Bengal

March 7th, 2009 - 7:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Singur (West Bengal), Mar 7 (ANI): Potato cultivators in Hooghly district of West Bengal are facing a crisis with the outbreak of a mysterious disease.

Farmers in Singur, which had caught the global limelight over agricultural land acquisition for the Tatas proposed Nano factory, are worrying about their uncertain future.

The farmers are very nervous. If the crops are good, they find surplus production on hand with no avenues for marketing. If the crops are poor, they do not have any other alternative to sustain their livelihoods.

The farmers have already lost a major part of their crop due to the unknown disease. Many farmers are contemplating suicide as they find it difficult to go through this.

Many have taken loans. Some did not have land but leased land from landowners. We are in worse condition, forcing to contemplate suicide. We do not know what the future has in store and how we will feed our children, said Dukhiram Das, a farmer.

Sukumar Samanta, President of Singur Ratanpur Aalu Baybsai Samity said about 13-14 lakh tons of potato was expected in comparison to last years potato cultivation of over 21 lakh tons.

This year compared to the usual potato cultivation in Hooghly district, 5000 hectares less have been planted with potato. This years winter was not favourable for the crop. Last year, the yield was about 21 lakh tons. This year it will be only about 13-14.5 lakh tons, Samanta said.

The disease has affected 35 percent of the crops. Production would only be about 65 percent in comparison to last year. (ANI)

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