03 March, 2021

Crash Boom Bang

Farmer protests have been loudest in states with high agricultural growth. What explains the paradox?

Potato Couch
Due to assured loss, farmers are being unable to sell their produce to traders, letting it go waste
Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
Crash Boom Bang

From a distance, it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of the stench amid the rolling green fields in this Sikh-dominated hamlet off Kurukshetra, Haryana. Covered by black tarpaulin sheets and hay, the heaps of rotting potatoes—tonnes of them—are barely visible until farmer Bhupinder Pal Singh points to them. Some of the tuber has melted into thick slush, infested with insects and flies. The spot has become a local tourist attraction of sorts: a mini-mountain of rotting aloo.

Reporting: Zia Haq; Video: Jitender Gupta; Editing: Suraj Wadhwa

Singh’s decision to try potatoes instead of wheat last winter was catastrophic. He might take years to recover. He and his three cousins sowed a variety called ‘Chips Sona’ in 37 acres between them. They got some decent yields (4,400 quintals) in March and...

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