Potato, three years of losses to count in 4 out of 8 seats voting next in Uttar Pradesh -Harish Damodaran
-The Indian Express
Potato is a major crop in Agra, grown in 57,879 hectares of the district (2017-18 data) that includes both Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. The tuber is also extensively cultivated in Hathras (46,333 hectares) and Aligarh (23,332).
Agra, Fatehpur Sikri: If it was ganna (sugarcane) in the first, it’s aloo (potato) that could be decisive in at least four of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh voting in the second phase on April 18.
Potato is a major crop in Agra, grown in 57,879 hectares of the district (2017-18 data) that includes both Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. The tuber is also extensively cultivated in Hathras (46,333 hectares) and Aligarh (23,332). While polls to these four southwest UP seats are on April 18, the other three big aloo constituencies vote later: Firozabad (48,589 hectares) on April 23, and Kannauj (50,089) and Farrukhabad (35,168) on April 29.
“Yahan ka mudda aloo hi hai (the main issue here is potato),” says Pradeep Sharma, whose family jointly farms 27 bigha (15 acres) in Nagla Nathu village falling in Fatehpur Sikri constituency. Nagla Nathu has about 800 voters, comprising an estimated 300 Rajputs and 100 each from the Brahmin, Prajapati (potter), Baghel (shepherd) and Jatav Dalit communities.
The 39-year-old Sharma, a Brahmin, makes no secret of his displeasure at potato prices. “Mota aloo (normal large potato) is being sold from our fields at Rs 300-350 per 50-kg bag (Rs 6-7/kg), while it is Rs 200-250 for gulla (medium) and Rs 100-150 for kirri (small) varieties. And the rates have been low for more than three years now, especially after notebandi (demonetisation),” he complains.
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