21-day lockdown: Is India prepared to meet the supply requirements of foodstuffs?

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that the Centre and state governments will take all steps to ensure the supply of “essential items” during the lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus, which has now been made nationwide and extended for a further 21-day periodThe Indian Express takes stock of how prepared India is to meet the supply requirements of the most essential of items: Food.

What is the domestic availability situation in foodstuffs? To what extent would the restrictions on account of COVID-19 impact it?

There’s no real issue as far as production or supply goes for most agri-commodities, starting with foodgrains. As on March 1, stocks of wheat and rice with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stood at around 77.6 million tonnes (mt). This was over three-and-a-half times the minimum operational buffer-cum-strategic stock of 21.04 mt required to be maintained for April 1. Moreover, the new wheat crop, which is a bumper one, will arrive in the mandis from the coming month.

The same applies to pulses, where the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India or Nafed was holding 2.25 mt of stocks as on March 19. This, even as fresh market arrivals of rabi (winter-spring) pulses such as chana (chickpea), masur (red lentils) and matar (field pea) have started.

COVID-19’s impact will not be on production, given that most rabi crops are close to ripening, if not already harvested. The impact will be only on marketing the produce at the mandis and reaching it to the final consumer. Simply put, it isn’t a “supply”, but a “supply chain” problem arising from the various movement restrictions imposed under the ongoing lockdown. But for the rice, wheat and pulses with FCI or Nafed, even that shouldn’t be a problem, as the grain has to merely be moved from godowns and supplied to ration shops. This can, in fact, be an opportunity for the Centre to significantly offload its surplus foodgrain stocks – including to regular grocery shops at open market rates.

What about stuff like milk, sugar and edible oils?

These, again, are produce not brought to be sold in mandis. Dairies procure milk directly from farmers or through bulk vendors. The sugar that mills produce similarly comes from cane sourced straight from growers. Two-thirds of the edible oil consumed by India is imported. There, too, the problem of the crop having to first come to an APMC (agricultural produce market committee) mandi does not arise.

In the current lockdown situation, there are actually mitigating factors on the supply requirement front, particularly for the three food items. The most important of them is the demand destruction due to shutting down of HORECA (hotels, restaurants and catering) businesses. With hardly any business-to-business (B2B) sales happening, the demand for milk products, sugar and edible oil is now only in the business-to-consumer segment.

This has had two effects.

On the one hand, direct consumer sales of milk, curd, sugar and branded oils have gone up in the past few days, with households buying more in anticipation of shortages. R.S. Sodhi, managing director of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, claims that the daily sales of ‘Amul’ milk are currently about 37 lakh litres in Delhi-NCR and 22 lakh litres in Maharashtra, as against their normal respective levels of 31-32 lakh litres and 18-19 lakh litres.

But on the other hand, sales of skimmed milk power (SMP) to ice-cream companies and cheese to pizza makers have crashed, as consumers aren’t eating out and focusing on basic foods. This has led to SMP prices crashing to Rs 250 per kg, from Rs 320-330 per kg till roughly 15 days ago, with some Maharashtra-based dairies mainly into B2B sales slashing their procurement price for cow milk from Rs 32-plus to Rs 20 per litre. In sugar also, mills are seeing less buying from the sweetmeat, soft drinks and HORECA segments. Nor are oil marketing companies lifting ethanol, a by-product of sugar manufacture used for 10% blending with petrol. The reason: People sitting at home and not taking out their vehicles.

The above demand destruction on account of B2B is, nevertheless, ensuring that existing supplies are enough to meet the requirements of household consumers or B2C.

So, which are the food products whose supplies are being affected?

Basically fruits and vegetables (F&V), which are produce sold through APMC mandis. Fruit traders and commission agents at the Vashi market of Navi Mumbai have announced suspension of their operations from Wednesday, fearing the spread of coronavirus. Such closures are, however, more likely in terminal markets close to cities than the primary APMCs, where the bulk of farmers bring their produce. Right now, the fear of the pandemic is less in rural areas, though Jitender Singh Hooda, a sugarcane farmer from Kheri Bairagi village of Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, anticipates a 25-30% harvesting labour shortage in the coming days. According to him, many migrant labourers have fled to their villages in Bihar, which will hit cane harvesting when crushing operations in UP are at a peak.

What are the steps the government must take in the coming days?

In his first address to the nation on dealing with COVID-19, the Prime Minister mentioned that all necessary steps would be taken to ensure “no shortage of essential items like milk”. That specific reference has, perhaps, helped in the largely unhindered supplies of milk from the rural hinterland to urban centres across India. Unfortunately, the same approach has not been visible in other food items. Indiscriminately imposed inter-state movement restrictions have resulted in tomato-laden trucks from Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh not crossing over to Bengaluru or brinjal and beans from Chikkaballapur in Karnataka not reaching Hyderabad’s consumers. Alphonso mangoes and grapes not being allowed to move freely will hurt growers in Ratnagiri and Sangli just when their crop is being harvesting.

There are similar reports about F&V collection and distribution centres of online grocers being forcibly shut down; sugar mills in UP running out of lime, sulphur and HDPE bags procured from Rajasthan and Gujarat; and labourers engaged in grading and packing of produce not being permitted to go their workplaces. All these impediments need to go at the earliest – like in milk from day one of the lockdown.

Source: Indian express
Link:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/coronavirus-india-lockdown-food-supply-chain-6330203/

FCI Operations Hit in Lockdown, Seeks Mention in Exemption List

food-grains-agencies
Police and local administration, specially in states of Punjab and Haryana from where surplus food grains have to be moved to other parts of the country, are not allowing FCI officials and workers to function as FCI has not been specifically included in the exemption list of essential services.

The Food Corporation of India (FCI), the central agency that procures and distributes food grains for welfare schemes, is finding it difficult to carry out its food grain distribution operation under the public distribution system (PDS) due to the nationwide lockdown.

Police and local administration, especially in the states of Punjab and Haryana from where surplus food grains have to be moved to other parts of the country, are not allowing FCI officials and workers to function as FCI has not been specifically included in the exemption list of essential services.

“Though ration shops and PDS have been mentioned in the exemption list. But there is no mention of FCI, which is creating trouble for us. The police are not allowing us to work. Our laborers are being harassed and driven back, which can hamper the food grain distribution system,” a senior FCI official told ET.

The agency has been mandated to transport food grains as per the requirement of states under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), which offers poor people food grains at subsidized rates.

The official said that few states like Uttar Pradesh have specific mention of FCI in the exemption list.

“But in Punjab and Haryana, which together have the highest stock, we are facing problems. We have requested the state government to allow the loading and freight movement of FCI,” the official said.

The cabinet, on Wednesday, decided to increase the monthly quota of food grains to 800 million poor families by 2 kg. Now each person will get 7 kg of rice at Rs 3 a kg or wheat at Rs 2 a kg.

“This has further aggravated our pressure. Punjab and Haryana hold stock of wheat and rice. Unless we are given permission to work freely, we will not be able to supply grains in time,” he said.

Earlier, FCI chairman and managing director DV Prasad held a review meeting with officials and asked them to ensure the availability of food grains across the country.

The FCI has created a 24×7 war room, which will coordinate with zones to ensure smooth operations. The official will pursue with the state government for direct delivery of food grains from foodsheds to cut down the time.

Prasad has asked officials to ensure the free movement of grains by working closely with states.

Reference Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/fci-operations-hit-in-lockdown-s

COVID-19 scare: Transport hurdles, labour scarcity to hit supply of fruit, vegetables

Traders say the current situation will devastate farmers as their produce will start rotting, while urban consumers will face sky-high prices unless the authorities take urgent steps. Policemen say it is impossible to determine if a person or an empty commercial vehicle is engaged in trade of essential commodities.

Supply of fruit and vegetables will start falling sharply in a day because transportation hurdles and labour scarcity in the wake of the COVID-19 scare have derailed operations, prompting many traders to stop operations from Wednesday although the mandis may remain formally open under government pressure.

Traders say the current situation will devastate farmers as their produce will start rotting, while urban consumers will face sky-high prices unless the authorities take urgent steps.

Traders said apart from the need to keep away from unhygienic and congested conditions in Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC), or mandis, they were already facing a disruption in trade as trucks are unable to move in the lockdown. “Most of the fruit trading at Azadpur mandi has stopped as farmers are facing difficulties in sending their produce, while the onward dispatches too have become difficult,” said Rajkumar Bhatia, general secretary at Chamber of Azadpur Fruit and Vegetable A ..

Sanjay Bhagat, secretary of an association of vegetable dealers at Azadpur, said arrival of vegetables will halve on Wednesday and fall up to 80% in the following days. “This will result in farmers crying for rotting vegetable and consumers paying through their nose to get vegetables,” said Bhagat.

Rajinder Sharma, former chairman of Azadpur APMC, said police beat up customers who came to the market on Tuesday. “If customers are not allowed, we will have to reduce buying from growing areas. We want government to issue passes to buyers who want to come to APMC,” he said.

Transportation is a huge bottleneck, said Nikhil Khandelwal, joint secretary at Akola Chamber of Industries. “One truck of pulses from Akola was sent back from Madhya Pradesh border, another on way to Bangalore came back and a few are stuck at the border of Kolkata, with the drivers running out of money to sustain,” he said.

Reference Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/covid-19-scare-transport-hurdles-labour-scarcity-to-hit-supply-of-fruit-vegetables/articleshow/74802867.cms

Covid-19 impact: State border curbs disrupt farm, food supply chain

A view of BPL cardholders at a government ration shop at Sunkadakatte in Bengaluru on Monday. Consumers throng the PDS shop to buy supplies as the Karnataka government proposes to implement strict lockdown for the next nine days to arrest the spread of Covid-19 

The clampdown imposed by the Government in controlling the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 has thrown the agri-supply chain in a state of disarray. The agri-markets have started downing their shutters for trading activities and are expected to stay closed till the end of this month.

This has impacted the spot trading of foodgrains and other agri-commodities in these markets, where arrivals have thinned down with farmers hesitant to visit the market.

In Gujarat, most of the APMCs are closed till April 2 and the arrivals of seasonal commodities such as wheat, chana, coriander and mustard have come to a halt. “We normally have a shutdown at APMCs from March 25 for our annual account closing, but this year we have closed early from March 21 due to the virus threat. Arrivals are suspended till April 2 and there will be no auctions for any commodity,” said Atul Kamani, President of APMC Commission Agents Association, in Rajkot.

The Vashi APMC market, in the larger safety of traders and commission agents, will remain shut till March 31. “We held a meeting today, wherein it was decided that the market will remain closed till March 31. This is because there is a threat of community transmission of the virus. We are keeping the vegetables market open for a day on Tuesday, after that it will also remain closed,” said Ashok Valunj, former Director, Vashi APMC. However, Valunj clarified that there are no restrictions on the farmers to sell their crops directly to the buyers.

Logistics hurdles

Fruits and vegetables (F&V) have been exempted from the lockdown in many States. However, the prevailing confusion and chaos in the logistics sector is seen impacting the movement of the produce, which, in turn, could shrink supplies to the consuming centres, resulting in a spike in prices in the days ahead.

“Though F&V is exempted, the ground reality is different. Harvesting, packing and transporting has become a big problem due to the clamp down on people movement,” said Pankaj Khandelwal of INI Farms.

“Even if the produce is harvested and shipped, there is uncertainty over the consignment reaching the intended destination. We hear from transporters that drivers — under pressure from their families and due to the conditions on the ground such as non-availability of food and frequent checks and long queues at State borders — have abandoned their vehicles. As a result, we are telling farmers to delay their harvest as much as possible,” Khandelwal said.

Further, the Government needs to come out with a solution to ensure a smooth passage for F&V vehicles by communicating with people on the ground about the exempted category, he added. In Delhi, the Azadpur Mandi was open today. “It will work tomorrow also. But I can’t say for how long. Like most people, traders and labourers, too, are very worried as the threat of Covid-19 infection is very real,” said Rajinder Sharma, a trader said.

“If Delhi government wants it to be functioning, it should make provisions for sanitising the place and even declare if anything happens to anyone it will compensate the person’s family. Such things can instil some confidence as workers are quite scared,” Sharma said.

In Bengaluru, the markets will remain open on Tuesday on account of the Ugadi festival and will be shut from Wednesday till the month end. “Retailers and grocers have stocked enough to take care of supplies for the next couple of weeks,” said RC Lahoti of Foodgrains Traders Association.

Source: The Hindu business line
Link:https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/covid-19-impact-state-border-curbs-disrupt-farm-food-supply-chain/article31144732.ece

Covid-19 impact: State border curbs disrupt farm, food supply chain

A view of BPL cardholders at a government ration shop at Sunkadakatte in Bengaluru on Monday. Consumers throng the PDS shop to buy supplies as the Karnataka government proposes to implement strict lockdown for the next nine days to arrest the spread of Covid-19  

Agri markets to remain closed till March 31

The clampdown imposed by the Government in controlling the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 has thrown the agri-supply chain in a state of disarray. The agri-markets have started downing their shutters for trading activities and are expected to stay closed till the end of this month.

This has impacted the spot trading of foodgrains and other agri-commodities in these markets, where arrivals have thinned down with farmers hesitant to visit the market.

In Gujarat, most of the APMCs are closed till April 2 and the arrivals of seasonal commodities such as wheat, chana, coriander and mustard have come to a halt. “We normally have a shutdown at APMCs from March 25 for our annual account closing, but this year we have closed early from March 21 due to the virus threat. Arrivals are suspended till April 2 and there will be no auctions for any commodity,” said Atul Kamani, President of APMC Commission Agents Association, in Rajkot.

The Vashi APMC market, in the larger safety of traders and commission agents, will remain shut till March 31. “We held a meeting today, wherein it was decided that the market will remain closed till March 31. This is because there is a threat of community transmission of the virus. We are keeping the vegetables market open for a day on Tuesday, after that it will also remain closed,” said Ashok Valunj, former Director, Vashi APMC. However, Valunj clarified that there are no restrictions on the farmers to sell their crops directly to the buyers.

Logistics hurdles

Fruits and vegetables (F&V) have been exempted from the lockdown in many States. However, the prevailing confusion and chaos in the logistics sector is seen impacting the movement of the produce, which, in turn, could shrink supplies to the consuming centres, resulting in a spike in prices in the days ahead.

“Though F&V is exempted, the ground reality is different. Harvesting, packing and transporting has become a big problem due to the clamp down on people movement,” said Pankaj Khandelwal of INI Farms.

“Even if the produce is harvested and shipped, there is uncertainty over the consignment reaching the intended destination. We hear from transporters that drivers — under pressure from their families and due to the conditions on the ground such as non-availability of food and frequent checks and long queues at State borders — have abandoned their vehicles. As a result, we are telling farmers to delay their harvest as much as possible,” Khandelwal said.

Further, the Government needs to come out with a solution to ensure a smooth passage for F&V vehicles by communicating with people on the ground about the exempted category, he added. In Delhi, the Azadpur Mandi was open today. “It will work tomorrow also. But I can’t say for how long. Like most people, traders and labourers, too, are very worried as the threat of Covid-19 infection is very real,” said Rajinder Sharma, a trader said.

“If Delhi government wants it to be functioning, it should make provisions for sanitising the place and even declare if anything happens to anyone it will compensate the person’s family. Such things can instil some confidence as workers are quite scared,” Sharma said.

In Bengaluru, the markets will remain open on Tuesday on account of the Ugadi festival and will be shut from Wednesday till the month end. “Retailers and grocers have stocked enough to take care of supplies for the next couple of weeks,” said RC Lahoti of Foodgrains Traders Association.

Rice Exporters in India saw a 30% spike in Shipping Freight to the US, Europe

India becomes world's largest exporter of Rice: List of top ...
Rice exporters have written to PM Modi, seeking help in streamlining the distortions in international logistics and domestic inland transportation to ensure cereal supply to a pandemic-hit world. India exports rice to more than 90 countries and the figure for total basmati shipments stood at $ 3398 million during April-January 2019-20.

Basmati rice exporters said the sharp increase of about 30% in freight rates of shipping containers in the past few weeks had hit them hard, even as they jostled to deliver consignments from the largest rice exporting country to overseas destinations including the United States and Europe. The increase in logistics overheads is set to shrink margins even as foreign payments get delayed in the pandemic-hit global market, feels exporters.

Rice exporters have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking help in streamlining the distortions in international logistics and domestic inland transportation to ensure cereal supply to a pandemic-hit world. India exports rice to more than 90 countries and the figure for total basmati shipments stood at $ 3398 million during April-January 2019-20. The figure was $4712 million in 2018-19.

“Shipping containers’ freight rates have increased 20-30% in the past four weeks, and it has increased cost overheads at a time when payments in global trade are prone to delays,” said Ashok Sethi, director, of Punjab Rice Millers Exporters Association. He said the association has requested the PM to extend interest subvention on bank loans in case of delayed payments by foreign buyers due to COVID-19.

Although the global demand for Indian premium rice has recorded an increase in the past few weeks, exporters are wary of fluctuations in currency that would be exaggerated in case of late payments. “Bank penalties are heavy in such cases and have hit trade hard in recent years,” said Arvinder Pal Singh, president, of Punjab Rice Millers Exporters Association. He said the industry is expected to face cost overheads also due to labor shortages in the wake of measures taken to contain the spread of the viral disease.

Leading basmati rice exporters in Punjab, including Lal Mahal, Supple Tek Industry, and DD International, said increasing overheads threatened to shrink their margins despite the robust demand.

A senior executive of a leading shipping company said freights had risen as the industry looked to bridge the dent in business caused by the steep fall in shipments from China. “High cost of cleaner fuel and tighter allocation of space due to increase in consignments from India are among factors that led to an increase in freight charges in recent weeks,” said the executive, who did not wish to be identified

He said the availability of additional open space in the past due to high shipments from China had kept freight rates low for Indian exporters. “Freight rates are up 12-25% in the past three weeks depending on destination,” he said.

Reference Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/rice-exporters-in-india-rue-30-spike-in-shipping-freight-to-the-us-europe/articleshow/74771448.cms

Govt Approves Expenditure of Rs 1,061 cr to Reimburse Losses on Cotton Sale Under MSP

Bt cotton regains farmers' confidence, acreage under crop goes up ...

The Centre on Saturday approved an additional expenditure of Rs 748.08 crore for the Cotton Corporation of India and Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation towards reimbursement of losses on the sale of cotton procured under MSP operations during cotton years 2014-15 and 2015-16.

It also approved an expenditure of Rs 312.93 crore for reimbursing the losses to CCI and MSCCGMFL on the sale of cotton procured under minimum support price (MSP) operations during cotton years 2017-18 and 2018-19. The cotton year is from October to September.

The decisions were taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), which also accorded ex-post facto approval for engaging Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation Ltd (MSCCGMFL) to undertake MSP operations in the state of Maharashtra as sub-agent of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) Limited during the cotton years 2017-18 and 2018-19.

“The approval will help in price support operations of cotton which helps in stabilizing cotton prices and is primarily aimed to safeguard the interests of the farmers and controlling any distress sale,” an official statement said.

Reference Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/govt-approves-expenditure-of-rs-1061-cr-to-reimburse-losses-on-cotton-sale-under-msp/articleshow/74748910.cms

After coronavirus, poultry farmers in Karnataka and Kerala hit by bird flu

Farmers in the two states have reportedly begun culling chickens, while the state governments have restricted supply of chicken across their borders

poultry firm
Normally, bird flu outbreaks are reported in February and March, due to widening differences in temperature between day and night 

After coronavirus hit consumption of chicken and eggs to a multi-year low, poultry farmers in Karnataka and Kerala are facing another problem — bird flu or, formally, the H5N1 virus.

The source is migratory birds from the east. Farmers in the two states have reportedly begun culling chickens, while the state governments have restricted supply of chicken across their borders.

Bird flu indications are found in the Mysore region of Karnataka, among small farms with 3,000-4,000 birds. In fact, farmers had found some dead migratory birds which they carried into their farms, which was the major cause of the outbreak. The flu later spread throughout the farm,” said K G Anand, general manager ay Venkateshwara Hatcheries, producer and retailer of the Venky’s brand of chicken products.

From those small farms in Karnataka, the bird flu spread to Kerala. “Normally, farmers transport 1-1.5 million birds (cocks and hens) from Karnataka to Kerala. That is how it spread to Kerala,” said Sanjeeb Chintawar, business manager, National Egg Coordination Committee.

Normally, bird flu outbreaks are reported in February and March, due to widening differences in temperature between day and night. In this period, birds normally travel from cold regions in search of warm weather, with India a favourite destination.

“Farmers in Kerala and Karnataka have taken adequate care to contain the spread. The situation is under control now,” says Chintawar. The spread of Covid-19 had prompted farmers to sell broiler chicken at Rs 5 a kg in parts of Maharashtra. With Rs 30-35 a kg in North India, the average price is Rs 15 a kg — cost of production is said to be Rs 75-80 a kg.

“It will take at least a year for poultry farmers to recover from the current loss, if Covid -19 is contained and the situation becomes normal,” mourns Anand.

Source: Business-standard
Link:https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/after-coronavirus-poultry-farmers-in-karnataka-and-kerala-hit-by-bird-flu-120032000043_1.html

PM-KISAN scheme being implemented across India except West Bengal

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said the PM-KISAN scheme has been successfully implemented across the country.

PM-KISAN scheme, West Bengal, Question Hour, PM-KISAN portal, West Bengal farmers
The minister said the entire responsibility of identification of eligible beneficiary farmer families and uploading their correct details on the PM-KISAN portal rests with State/UT governments concerned.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PMKSNY) has been implemented successfully across the country, barring West Bengal as the eastern state did not join the scheme, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said the PM-KISAN scheme has been successfully implemented across the country.

“So far, as on March 11, 2020, financial benefit under the scheme has been released to 8,69,79,391 beneficiaries. However, these exclude about 69 lakh farmers of West Bengal as the government of West Bengal has not yet decided to join the scheme,” he said during Question Hour.RELATED NEWS

The minister said the entire responsibility of identification of eligible beneficiary farmer families and uploading their correct details on the PM-KISAN portal rests with State/UT governments concerned. State governments have been continuously requested and vigorously pursued for expeditious registration and uploading of data of beneficiaries, in mission mode and by organising camps.

Meeting is held weekly through video conferencing with state governments and other stakeholders concerned so as to remove any handicaps coming in the way of smooth and seamless implementation of the scheme, he said.

Choudhary said the target of the government is to achieve 100 per cent saturation by enrolling every eligible farmer family of the country. To achieve this, States and UTs have been asked to conduct various saturation drives, he said.

Source: Financial express

Link:https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/pm-kisan-scheme-being-implemented-across-india-except-west-bengal/1900569/

India: Windfall for Punjab’s potato farmers as crop hits all-time high prices

It’s a happy time for the potato farmers of Punjab, with their crop hitting the highest rate ever known due to low production in other states because of a delayed monsoon last year.

Farmers are currently getting Rs 1,600 per quintal for their table crop, which is currently being harvested. For the past four years, they had been getting Rs 300 to Rs 400 per quintal. Traders and stockists of other states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are hoping to get higher prices after purchasing the crop from Punjab.

Before this, the highest rate for their potato crop was recorded in 2013-14, when it was Rs 1,200-1,300 per quintal.

“My family has been cultivating potato for the past four decades. I have been doing for the last three decades. I never got Rs 1,500 to 1,600 per quintal for my crop,” said farmer Gurmail Singh, who sows potato on a 150-acre plot.

“I hope to recover half my losses which I suffered in the past 5-6 years due to the abysmal rate of the crop,” he added.

Apart from the high rate of the table crop, the varieties meant for processing purposes to make chips, potato fingers, etc. are being sold at the rate of Rs 25 to 30 per kg by farmers to traders. The rate of seed is also between Rs 18 to 22 per kg currently.

Jagtar Singh, a farmer from Nakodar, said, “This is the highest rate I have seen, and I have been growing potatoes for over two decades. “I am selling the seed potato as well as table potato when the market is up instead of storing the crop in cold stores as I want to recover all my losses,” he added.