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Karnataka farmers shy away from potatoes in fear of blight

June 14, 2009
Owing to the fear of blight, many farmers are shying away from cultivating potato.

Last year, potato was grown on 50,000 hectares of land in the district, but the crop on 35,000 hectares was affected by blight, and farmers lost Rs. 300 crore as a result. Most of them did not get any compensation from the Government. Between May 2008 and March 2009, 42 farmers committed suicide in the district because they were unable to repay their loans.

This year, the sale of seed potato began on May 12. Traders at the APMC Yard fixed the price at Rs. 1,200 for a 60-kg bag. There were no buyers till the price came down to Rs. 800 a bag.

Javare Gowda, a farmer in Hassan who grows potato every year, told The Hindu that this year he had cultivated potato on five acres of land instead of 10 acres, and on the remaining portion he had cultivated jowar. Some farmers said they had decided to stop cultivating potato and had switched over to maize and jowar.

Owing to the lack of demand for seed potato, the sale of complex fertilizer has also been affected.

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