Potatoes are the vegetables used in every dish. The labour involved in cultivating potatoes does not fetch the right price. Lately, the farmers were witnessed throwing the produce on the road as the rates for keeping the same in the warehouse is more than what they could afford.
But, Ooty Potatoes which are known for their taste continues to fetch higher price at the auctions bringing cheer to the growers of the tuber plant in the region. With the potato harvesting season already underway, hilly grown potatoes are fetching between Rs.1,300 and Rs.1,600 for a bag containing 45 kg of potatoes, at the auction centres in Mettupalayam, in the foothills of Nilgiris.
“Farmers who reposed faith in potato cultivation are reaping the benefits now”, said Mr B. Krishnamoorthy, President of Nilgiris Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, hoped that the trend may continue for some more weeks. "There is always good demand for hilly grown potatoes.
This season, many farmers in the hills switched over to carrot cultivation instead of regular potato cultivation in the first season that commenced in February-March. Potato cultivation was taken up only in a limited area. Now, in the harvesting season, potato is fetching premium price in the auction on soaring demand, Krishnamoorthy said. Generally a bag of 45 kg potato would fetch around Rs.800 in the auction.
Now it is almost double the usual price. Potato from neighbouring Karnataka competes with Ooty potato in the auction, but often Ooty potato fetches higher price. A tonne of potato seeds in an acre will yield up to 10 tonnes during cultivation season. Also, Cultivation of potato is an arduous task due to the menace from pests and wild boars which has been impacting the yield.