Both yield and market price have made the potato growers happy in Rajshahi region including its vast Barind tract during the current harvesting season, reports BSS.
Talking to the news agency, Md Alauddin, 45, a farmer of Borgachhi Nawdapara village under Paba upazila, said he had brought four bighas of land under potato cultivation.
He got expected yield due to suitable climatic condition and less-disease infestation has also reduced his production cost, he added in smiling face.
Alauddin also said the newly harvested potato is being sold at Tk 10 to Tk 12 per kg in wholesale market while the price is Tk 12 to Tk 14 in retail market at present which is comparatively higher than that of the previous year.
While visiting some of the potato-growing areas, this reporter found the farmers are now very much busy in harvesting and packaging of the cash crop along with its transportation to the local markets and cold storages. Thus, the activities generate seasonal employment for many people.
Currently, the newly harvested potato has appeared in the local markets in plenty with more or less better prices benefiting the growers in the region, markets sources said.
"I am getting profit after cultivating potato on five bighas of land. The potato farming has made my family happy," said Abdul Maleque, a farmer of Baosha village under Bagha Upazila in Rajshahi district.
He mentioned that both yield and market price is almost satisfactory.
Babul Dewan, a farmer of a Char village under the same upazila, said many farmers are seen cultivating potato in char areas of Padma River as they got the taste of profit of the cast crop farming.
Golam Rasul, a farmer of Darusha village under Paba upazila, said both acreage and yield were boosted up in the wake of a favourable climatic condition and availability of standard seeds in the region.
This season, he along with his sons cultivated potato on around 150 bighas of land. He said, "We are very much optimistic about our outcomes as the weather was absolutely supportive".
Rasul further said there is a need of enhancing the number of cold storages for betterment of the potato growers. Potato farming has now been expanded to the dried land in the vast Barind tract with massive promotion of commercial farming as a result of irrigation facilities promoted by the Barind Multipurpose Development Authorities (BMDA).
Shamsul Alam, deputy director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), said many of the growers are harvesting 23.68 tonnes per hectare in average, up by one to 1.5 tonnes than the previous year.
He added that the farmers have already harvested 70 per cent potato. In comparison to the previous year, the climatic condition remains suitable for the crop and the present market price is also apposite for the farmers.
Meanwhile, farmers brought 1,81,566 hectares of land under potato cultivation in all eight districts under Rajshahi division creating scopes of producing 2,23,291 tonnes this season, said SM Mostafizur Rahman, additional director of DAE, while talking to the news agency on Monday.
He said the officials, experts and other organisations concerned have been providing necessary suggestions to the farmers to face the cold situation so that the growing potato fields are not affected by late blight disease.
Agriculturist Rahman said the DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, other agri-related departments and commercial banks are assisting the farmers to make the extensive potato farming programme a success.
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