Navi Mumbai: Rain and heat rot potatoes before they reach APMC

The untimely rainfall and lack of storage facility with farmers is forcing them to dispatch their stock of potatoes early; however, the heat is rotting the produce before it reaches the APMC market

Every day, around 10 per cent of potato produce that enters the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) is rotten. According to the traders at the Vashi wholesale market, untimely rainfall, surplus production and lack of storage facility are the main reasons why the staple crop is getting dumped as garbage.

Majority of the produce is getting damaged during transit from Gujarat, Punjab, UP and Madhya Pradesh
Majority of the produce is getting damaged during transit from Gujarat, Punjab, UP and Madhya Pradesh

For the last few weeks, close to 6-7 tonnes of potatoes are being discarded as the stock is rotting away. “The unseasonal rainfall in northern and western belts of the country has forced farmers to pick the crop early, which is affecting its quality.

With the cold storage already full, farmers have no other option but to either store it in the open, or dispatch it as soon as possible,” informed Babaji Dhumal, an onion-potato trader at APMC. The rise in mercury levels and the lack of storage space is damaging the crop, which was picked due to untimely rainfall.

Therefore, on an average, 10 out of 100 trucks are bringing in potatoes that are already rotten, traders told mid-day. Majority of the produce is getting damaged during transit, coming from states like Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

This year, the production of potatoes has increased by 10-15 per cent. Due to bumper crop in foreign countries, the export was comparatively lower, leaving a huge surplus for Indian markets. “The unprecedented rainfall is forcing farmers to pick the crop, but they do not have space to store it.

Therefore, they are sending the stock to wholesale markets, but it ends up getting spoiled either before, or as soon as it reaches the market,” said Prakash Kondhalkar, another trader.

Expert speak
Agricultural expert Hemant Vaidya from Latur, who also runs a warehousing and cold storage business, said, “There is a shortage of cold storages in the country. This year, due to excess production, there was lack of space in warehouses and cold storages for farmers to stock the produce.”

141
Number of potato trucks that reached APMC Vashi on Monday

Rs 5-8per kg
Wholesale price of potatoes

Rs 10-20per kg
Retail price of potatoes

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