File photo of Farmers are expecting a bumper yield as the potato fields were not affected by any disease this season Dhaka Tribune

Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said a super bumper potato production is likely in the region as harvest of its early varieties continues bringing lucrative price to farmers making them happy

Braving the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers have already exceeded the fixed potato farming target by 3.93 percent in Rangpur agriculture region where sowing of seeds still continues this season.

Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said a super bumper potato production is likely in the region as harvest of its early varieties continues bringing lucrative price to farmers making them happy.

Farmers are now selling their newly harvested early varieties of potatoes between Tk 20 and 30 per kilogram to small traders directly from crop fields depending on the qualities and varieties.

However, retailers at different urban and rural markets are selling newly harvested potatoes at rates between Tk35 and Tk 50 per kg after purchasing those from wholesalers.

“The government has fixed a target of producing 23.67 lakh tons of potato from 93,350 hectares of land for all five districts in the region this season,” Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist Md Moniruzzaman said yesterday.

Meanwhile, farmers have already brought 97,020 hectares of land under potato cultivation crossing the fixed farming target for the region by 3,770 hectares or 3.93 percent by Friday last.

“Farmers will continue sowing potato seeds till this month-end in all five districts of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Kurigram and Lalmonirhat in the region to bring more lands under the intensive potato farming programs this season,” he said.

Currently, early varieties of potatoes that were cultivated after harvesting short duration and hybrid varieties of Aman rice on their croplands are being harvested bringing higher profits to farmers.

During the current Rabi season, farmers are showing more interest in farming potatoes after getting government incentives to recoup the crop losses they incurred during recent floods in Rangpur agriculture region.

The DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute and related agencies and institutions provided quality potato seeds to farmers to make the potato farming program a success.

“The field level officials of the DAE are providing latest technologies to farmers in ensuring proper nursing of their growing potato plants to get better yield facing the current cold wave,” Moniruzzaman added.

Farmers Akram Hossain, Shariful Haque, Ariful Haque and Mahmudul Haque of village Najirdigar in Rangpur Sadar said they had cultivated early varieties of potatoes after harvesting short duration Aman rice.

“We are harvesting our cultivated early varieties of potatoes to earn lucrative profits now before transplanting Boro rice seedlings on the same land from the next week,” said farmer Manik Mian of the same village.

Predicting a super bumper potato production this season in Rangpur region, President of Rangpur District Potato Growers’ Association and bigger potato grower Alhaj Khwaja Ahmed expressed happiness over the present market price of potatoes.

He urged the government for setting up of potato preservation facilities and agri-based industries and other steps to ensure fair price of potatoes and enhance its export to make potato farming more profitable to farmers of the region.



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