While the potato crop has suffered the maximum damage, other vegetable crops and mustard across Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been affected as well
Potato farmers in north India have suffered heavy crop losses due to ground frost owing to the fall in temperatures between January 16 and 21, 2023.
While the potato crop has suffered the maximum damage, other vegetable crops and mustard across Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been affected as well.
The damage has been 30-40 per cent in some fields. In some of the varieties, sown in late November or early December, the damage has been as high as 80 per cent.
The situation is the same across the potato belt in Punjab, covering districts like Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Moga and Patiala. The damage happened when minimum temperatures fell below normal or reached the freezing point in many places.
Bathinda and Faridkot districts of the state have been reeling under sub-zero temperatures accompanied by frost. Additionally, due to dry weather conditions, there has been a decrease in the moisture content of the soil.
The farmers are more concerned because the price of potato has been as low as Rs 3 per kg. In contrast, the per acre investment is Rs 40,000.
According to farmers, an episode like this happens once every three or four years. In Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh area, farmers saw similar damage to the mustard crop. These plants were about to be harvested in February.
Similarly, farmers from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have also reported a loss.
Crops should be irrigated lightly to avoid dehydration and an adequate supply of nutrients must be ensured, experts advised. University scientists also recommended regular surveillance of fields by farmers and vigilance about ground frost conditions.
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