Good yield, market prices bring smiles to Rajshahi potato farmers...

Dhaka, Monday   17 May 2021

Good yield, market prices bring smiles to Rajshahi potato farmers amid coronavirus

 Rajshahi Correspondent

 Published: 01:10 PM, 15 April 2021  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Potato farmers in the Rajshahi division are now happy with good yield and cherished market price amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

According to the sources in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), farmers got around 16.57 lakh tonnes of potato from about 76,661 hectares of land in all eight districts in the division during the harvesting season that ended very recently generating huge job opportunities for many people.

The sources said the growers were seen delighted as they got good yield due to favourable weather conditions everywhere in the region, including its vast Barind tract which has become a suitable place for potato production over the past couple of years.

They are also getting a fair price for their produce this season at present. 

Ashraf Ali, a farmer of Hatkanpara village under Durgapur Upazila, had cultivated potatoes on 35 bigha of land. He said that many of his co-villagers are getting lucrative market price of the crop at present.

Altab Hossain, another farmer of Mougachhi village under Mohanpur Upazila, had cultivated the crop on around 170 bigha of land in Krishnapur area of Tanore Upazila.

“I had cultivated the cash crop on 110 bigha of land in the same area in the previous season. I had harvested around 8,800 mounds of potato and my profit was around Tk one crore after selling those,” said Hossain. He’s also happy about this year’s yield.

Currently, potato is being sold at Tk 540 to 650 per mound in local wholesale markets according to size and quality.

Monwar Hossain, a wholesaler at Shaheb Bazar, said the present market price is better than the corresponding time of the previous years. The price is now on upward trend, he added.

The DAE had set a target of producing around 15.24 lakh tonnes of potato from around 68,297 hectares of land in the division, said Sirajul Islam, Additional Director of DAE in Rajshahi.

However, he said the farmers have brought around 76,600 hectares up by 8,364 hectares than the target creating scopes of 1,33,241 tonnes of additional potato yield.

He said topography and climatic conditions were favorable to potato farming. 

Mobarak Hossain, a farmer of Mougachhi area in Mohanpur Upazila, said the farmers were seen harvesting good yield as it has attained due to suitable climatic conditions. They are also happy with the present market price. 

He has been cultivating potatoes commercially for more than 15 consecutive years and has brought 50 bigha of land under the cash crop farming this year. 

He said the market price is good. An 85-kg potato sac is being sold at Tk 1,275 to 1,600 in local markets at present.

Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal, another commercial farmer of Mollikpur village under Paba upazila, said the number and acreage of the modern farming method has been enhanced significantly for the last couple of years because of its better output.

Commercial potato farming has been expanded to the dried lands in massive way during the last couple of years in the vast Barind tract as a result of promoting irrigation facilities by the Barind Multipurpose Development Authorities (BMDA). 

Meanwhile, potato farming through the net house system for multiplying the tissue-culture based seed-potato successfully has also been gaining popularity in the region.

Mijanur Rahman Kazi, general secretary of Seed Potato Growers Cooperative Society, said that around 500 seed-growing farmers were very happy with their satisfactory yield achieved through using the net-house farming method this year.

He said the farming of foundation seed of potato through using tissue culture technology and net-house system has gradually been gaining popularity everywhere in the region for the last couple of years.