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Unseasonal rain in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar damages potato crop

Unseasonal rainfall in major potato-growing states has damaged the crop, resulting in a rise in its prices. Though the actual loss is yet to be ascertained, experts say the sustained, untimely rainfall would have a long-term impact. When temperatures start rising in March, the tubers would start rotting, they add.

The winter season was followed by unseasonal, intermittent rain for about 20 days in major growing states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar. This took a toll on the harvest.

“The 15-20 days of continuous unseasonal rainfall have already delayed new crop arrivals for about a month, owing to excessive mud in the field. This may cause the new crop to rot, resulting in a loss in output. And, the situation may aggravate with the onset of summer heat in March,” said a senior scientist with a leading research firm.

Earlier, the National Council of Applied Economic Research had estimated the output would rise five to seven per cent from 44.6- 5.6 million tonnes (mt) in 2011-12.

Another spell of rainfall has been forecast for February 23, after which the Central Potato Research Institute would send a team to major potato-growing belts to assess the damage to the crop.

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