AGRICULTURAL GROWTH AND PRICE FLUCTUATIONS: A Case Study of Production and Prices of Potato in Tripura
Like industrial development, agricultural growth also requires a leading sub-sector to generate dynamism in production, capital formation and technology. A predominantly cash crop like potato has the potential to play such a leading role in rural development in North East India. In terms of total production of energy for human consumption, potato is one of the five major crops in the world, others being wheat, rice, maize and barley. On an average, potato yields two times more calories per unit area than any other cereal. In Tripura also, potato as a crop has been associated with agricultural diversification and modernization. The area under cultivation of potato has increased remarkably during the plan period. The trend in productivity is also encouraging considering the overall backwardness of Tripura’s economy especially, the prevalence of peasant and tribal mode of production in the rural area. In spite of these encouraging signs, one cannot say that producers are getting adequate incentive for higher work and investment efforts from market behaviour. One important obstacle to further development in respect of potato cultivation is created by price fluctuations of this agricultural product. It affects both the producer and the consumer by creating a wide difference between the average annual price that the consumers pay and the price that the producers receive. The present paper is intended to be an attempt to understand the problems associated with growth and price fluctuations of potato in Tripura. The thrust of the study will be on the analysis of the nature and causes of price fluctuations and to suggest measures with a view to ensuing sustained development in respect of this important agricultural crop.
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