Potato farming in Rangpur multiplies
Potato farming is assuming a greater dimension, however bringing pressure on the government to expand its use as alternative food in the domestic sector while looking for greater export markets in overseas trade.
Potato is a staple food to many countries, especially in Europe and the quality of potato grown in Bangladesh is quite high to match the global demand on this count, official sources said adding Bangladesh is already exporting potato to several destinations. ‘We have to expedite the search for market,’ said an official.
Farmers are expecting to achieve potato cultivation target this season despite the huge losses they suffered with record quantity of unsold potato during last season in the Rangpur Agriculture Zone (RAZ).
Officials in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in the capital said farmers have already brought 1,25,458 hectares of land under potato cultivation against a target of 1,70,409 hectares for producing 30,84,403 tonnes of output.
Sowing of late variety potato seeds still continues and it will end by this month-end. It happens at a time when the newly harvested potatoes have already hit the sales window in the markets.
Horticulture specialist Khondker Md. Mesbahul Islam said the RAZ will produce 83.26 lakh tonnes of potato from 4.60 lakh hectares of land during this season. Another expert said potato farming could become more profitable if adequate low cost preservation facilities were ensured and more potato-based food processing industries set up.
This year farmers will grow potato on 53,088 hectares land in Rangpur, 10,284 hectares in Gaibandha, 6,605 hectares in Kurigram, 6,246 hectares in Lalmonirhat, 20,418 hectares in Nilphamari and 37,525 hectares in Dinajpur.
Besides, they will cultivate potato on 10,343 hectares land in Panchagarh and 25,900 hectares in Thakurgaon during this Rabi season, DAE officials said.
This is addition to huge production targets at Munshigonj district where high quality potato grows in favourable soil and moisture condition and it has a good global export market, the sources said.