Farmers have already exceeded the fixed potato cultivation target by 0.19 percent in Rangpur agriculture region where sowing of its seeds continues during this Rabi season. Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said a bumper potato production is likely as harvest of its early varieties continues with excellent yield rates in the region. Market sources said farmers got excellent prices between Taka 35 and Taka 50 per kg depending on varieties of potatoes in the beginning of harvest of early varieties of potatoes from late November last. However, farmers are currently getting comparatively lower prices between Taka eight and 20 per kg of potatoes amid huge supply of the newly harvested potatoes in local markets. The DAE officials said a target of producing 23.67 lakh tonnes of potato has been fixed from 93,350 hectares of land for all five districts in the region this season. "Meanwhile, farmers have already brought 97,305 hectares of land under potato cultivation crossing the fixed farming target by 0.19 percent," Additional Director of the DAE for Rangpur region Agriculturist Md. Mahbubur Rahman said. Farmers will continue sowing potato seeds till this month-end alongside harvesting early varieties of potatoes in all five districts of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Kurigram and Lalmonirhat in the region. Presently, early varieties of potatoes that were cultivated after harvesting short duration and hybrid varieties of Aman rice on their croplands are being harvested while harvest of late varieties will begin from March next.
The DAE, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and related agencies and institutions provided quality potato seeds to farmers to make the potato cultivation program a success.
"The field level DAE officials are providing the latest technologies to farmers for ensuring proper nursing of their growing potato plants to get better yield in the face of the current cold wave," Rahman added.
Talking to BSS, farmers Mohammad Ali, Abdul Wahab, Mansur Ali, Lokman Hossain and Shamsul Haque of different villages in Rangpur Sadar said they have cultivated early varieties of potatoes after harvesting short duration Aman rice.
"We earned better profits after harvesting early varieties of potatoes last month and are transplanting Boro rice seedlings on the same land," said farmer Manik Miah of Doroshna village in Rangpur.
Farmers Mohsin Ali, Dulal Hossain, Shariful Haque, Arshedul Alam and Ariful Haque of different villages said they have completed sowing of potato seeds last week on their crop lands. Predicting a bumper potato production, farmer Ariful Haque of village Najirdigar in Rangpur Sadar stressed on taking additional steps for ensuring proper preservation facilities of potatoes in the region.
President of Rangpur Chamber Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu also stressed on enhancing potato preservation facilities and export to make potato farming more profitable to farmers in Rangpur region.