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Bengal cold storages equipped to handle potato surplus
Tuesday January 13, 2015 4:34 PM, IANS

The 435 cold storages in West Bengal are well equipped to handle the expected surplus of ten lakh metric tonnes of potatoes in the state this fiscal resulting in no wastage of the harvest, the state's cold storage association said here Tuesday.

"The capacity of the cold storages in the state is increasing by 1.5 lakh metric tonne this fiscal which is a three percent increase from the existing capacity. Since a major part of the current crop (potato) is consumed seasonally as well as exported to neigbouring states, the cold storages can store the entire left over stock", senior West Bengal Cold Storage Association official Patit Paban De said.

According to De, nearly 25 lakh metric tonnes of the produce is shipped to Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh annually while another 15 to 20 lakh metric tonne is exported to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia. The total exports are valued at Rs. 4,000 crores.

"Besides, 40 percent of the current crop production is consumed in the same year. Thus, the cold storages have enough capacity to stock the potatoes", he said.

The cold storages in the state will be able to stock 64 lakh metric tonnes of potatoes this fiscal while West Bengal consumes 55 lakh metric tonne of potatoes annually.

"Storage of 60 lakh metric tonnes of potatoes is enough for the state's consumption", he said.

According to the association, from December till mid-May there is no need to store the potatoes in cold storages as it is shipped directly to the consumer market.

A total area of 4.5 lakh hectares is under potato cultivation in 2014-15.

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