When the corona has had an unprecedented impact on the industries of the country and the world, the potatoes of Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh are being sold like hotcakes.
There is a bumper crop of potatoes, which is almost double of last year’s crop. Also, the farmers are getting good value for their hard work.
The Lahaul Valley, located close to the Indo-China border in the Himalayas, produces only one crop a year and is also dependent on streams formed by the melting of frozen ice on the Himalayas. Potatoes have already been harvested here and now it is ready to go to the market to sell the crop.
Every year, a major portion of the crop of all crops from the valley goes to the markets of West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and North-Eastern states, where they are mainly used as seeds of crops. it happens.
Farmer Neeraj Negi told IANS, ” At present, half of the land is under contract farming for McCain Foods Pvt Ltd, so a large part of the crop has been sold to the company. ”
He told that prices and yield have been higher this time than in 2019.
” Since private companies are promoting chips making varieties like ‘Santana’, we are growing the same in some parts, while traditional varieties are being cultivated in the rest of the land. “
Deepak Bodh, another farmer, said that apart from McCain Foods Pvt Ltd, Haifun Frozen Foods and Balaji Foods are also promoting contract farming. A 50 kg bag of the chips variety ‘Santana’ is selling for Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,300, while in 2019 it was priced at Rs 1,000.
According to estimates by the state’s agriculture department, about 35,000-40,000 bags (50 kg) of ‘Kufri Chandramukhi’ and ‘Kufri Jyoti’ varieties are harvested on 750 hectares in Lahaul Valley.
Prem Lal, managing director of Lahaul Seed Potato Growers Cooperative Marketing Limited, told IANS that they are buying potatoes directly from growers. He said,
“After the purchase, we will take the entire crop to Kullu city. By the end of October, we will start selling it after fixing its prices with the government. “
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said earlier this month after inaugurating the All Weather Road link between Manali and Lahaul Valley that now cauliflower, potato and pea crops will reach the markets quickly.
“I have also tasted Lahaul’s identity Chandramukhi Aloo”. It will get new markets and new buyers.”
Apart from potatoes, Lahaul-Spiti is also a major producer of medicinal plants, hundreds of herbs and many spices like asafetida, acute, black cumin, saffron. These products of Himachal have made their mark in the country and the world.
Agricultural experts say that this valley, which cultivates only less than 5 months in a year, is turning into a vegetable bowl because the returns here are more than double.