Bangladesh: Farmers harvest 34.78 lakh tonnes of potatoes in Rajshahi division
Farmers have harvested around 34.78 lakh tonnes of potatoes from around 1.49 lakh hectares of land in all eight districts in Rajshahi division during the current harvesting season.
The latest official data said 2.22 lakh tonnes of potatoes were produced from 95,403 hectares of land in four districts under Bogura Agricultural Zone, while another 1.26 lakh tonnes from 53,652 hectares of four other districts under Rajshahi Agricultural Zone.
At present, growers are seen happy with their harvested cash crop along with its sale price. Abundance supply of the tuber crop in both wholesale and retail markers also made the consumers in general happy.
Market sources said that potatoes were now being sold at Taka 800 to 900 per 40 kilograms at wholesale markets on an average, while at Taka 950 to 1,000 in retail markets and vendors level.
In all perspectives, potato farming has become a lucrative business as many people attained successes in terms of making them financially solvent in the region, including its vast Barind tract, for the last couple of years.
Abdul Baqui, 54, a resident of Mollapara area in Rajshahi city, had cultivated potato on 80 bigha of land at Krishnapur area under Tanore upazila in the district this year with the hope of making profit through his venture.
He said he has harvested 4800 kilograms of yield from each bigha of land as the climatic conditions remained till the harvesting end.
Baqui said that potatoes were being sold at Taka 850 to Taka 900 per 40 kilograms in the wholesale markets, while at Taka 950 to 980 in retail markets on an averageat present.
Mosarraf Hossain, 45, another commercial farmer of the Krishnapur area, said that potato cultivation eventually inspired the local farmers. Potato cultivation in Tanore had expanded to around 6,000 hectares of land.
He is witnessing a revolution in potato farming in the last couple of years.
Tanore and Godagari upazilas are now considered the second largest source of potatoes.
Hossain is estimating that potatoes worth around Taka 550 crore will be sold from only Tanore this season.
Now, however, the land owners are no longer appeased with just a sack of potatoes. They lease their land out for Taka 8,000-10,000 for potato cultivation on one bigha of land.
As the potatoes of the Barind area are high in both quality and quantity, farmers sell one sack of 70kg for Taka 150-200 higher than elsewhere. They produce 40 per cent of the potatoes harvested in Rajshahi district.
Kazi Rashidul Islam, another potato farmer from Mohanpur, is cultivating potatoes on 300 bighas of land this year. Besides farming, he sells potato seeds. This year he will collect 300 tonnes of seeds. Of these, he has sowed 100 tonnes of seeds for his own scheme.
Seeing the business opportunity, Abdul Awal, a resident of Mundumala under Tanore, has started potato farming on lease basis. He has cultivated potatoes on 85 bighas of land.
Many Tanore and Godagari residents sold their one-crop fields to buyers from different areas. Now potatoes are being produced on these lands.
Mijanur Rahman, an operator of deep-tube-well in Krishnapur village, said the farmers are seen cultivating potatoes more instead of Boro paddy in the Barind area and the Tanore and Godagari upazilas in particular.
He identically mentioned that the farmers are interested in potato farming as it’s being adjudged as a less-irrigation consuming crop than the Boro paddy.
In the previous season, over 36.25 lakh tonnes of potatoes were produced from around 1.65 lakh hectares of land in the division making the farmers happy due to its good yield and cherished market price during the current season.