BLIGHT TROUBLES IN INDIA

Published online: May 15, 2007
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Late blight has cut West Bengal's potato crop by 30 percent with about 85 percent of the 400,000 acres under cultivation hit by the disease. Growers had set a target of an 850,000 tonne crop but the blight has cut this to some 650,000 tonnes.

The damage is expected to cut exports. The state's domestic consumption is 650,000 tonnes, leaving only 200,000 tonnes for export.

Meantime in Punjab, emergency efforts are under way to move a record crop of 2.6 million tonnes--up from 1.5 million tonnes a year ago. The Punjab government is asking the federal government for a 25 percent freight subsidy and a ban on war-potato imports. The growers also want aggressive sales campaigns in a number of countries including Russia, Malaysia, Ukraine and Thailand.

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