DAE sources said this year's potato cultivation is on 85,627 hectares of land in Joypurhat, Naogaon, Natore, and Chapainawabganj districts with the production target of 21,64,830 metric tonnes
Farmers in the Barind tract of Rajshahi are passing busy time planting potato seedlings as favourable weather has been prevailing in the region for the last several days.
They have engaged their full efforts and resources to make an all time record in potato farming this year, said sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and farmers.
The DAE is constantly monitoring the overall progress of potato farming and smooth supply of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and other necessary agro-inputs to the farmers, said the DAE officials.
DAE sources said this year's potato cultivation is on 85,627 hectares of land in Joypurhat, Naogaon, Natore, and Chapainawabganj districts with the production target of 21,64,830 metric tonnes.
Potatoes have been cultivated on 70% of the total lands in the region.
The production target is 18.52 lakh metric tonnes more than last year in Naogaon, Natore, and Chapainawabganj districts, said DAE sources.
This year’s lucrative market price has made the potato growers happy across the country including Rajshahi region, said locals.
The DAE is, however, hopeful about achieving the potato production target.
According to Bangladesh Agriculture Corporation (BADC) sources, 36,000 metric tonnes of potato seeds have been produced this year for the country. Meanwhile 1,330 metric tonnes of seeds have been provided among Rajshahi farmers.
BADC Deputy Director Abdur Rahman of Rajshai said the demand for potato seeds is more than that of previous years among the farmers in the region.
With the hope of making profits, the farmers are now very busy in various field level works like land preparation, seed-sowing of late varieties, and nursing of the growing plants everywhere in eight districts under the division.
Deputy Director (DD) of the DAE Sudhendra Nath Roy in Joypurhat said special initiatives have been taken for cultivating hybrid varieties of potatoes aiming to produce a record quantity of the crop this season in the district.
He said, of the total land, hybrid potatoes will be cultivated on 32,000 hectares and local varieties on 5,950 hectares. In the meantime, potatoes have been cultivated on 90% of the total lands in the district.
The DAE, the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation and NGOs have also distributed adequate quality seeds and other agro inputs and provided necessary technical assistance to the farmers.
On the other hand, different NGOs, government and private banks including Joypurhat Zonal Office of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank have been disbursing loans among the poor, small and marginal farmers, the sources said.
Besides, the DAE has been giving training to farmers for adopting modern technologies in potato cultivation, crop management, and preservation of quality seeds etc.
Sources said necessary training on potato cultivation was given to about 20,000 farmers in the district.
About the supply of fertilizers, DD of the DAE Sudhendra Nath Roy further said there is no shortage of fertilizers in the district.
He said distribution of urea fertilizers has begun in all upazilas through dealers and sub dealers in union level.
The price of potatoes skyrocketed this year. According to the government agency TCB, the market price of potatoes has gone up to Tk40-50 per kg. At this time last year the price was Tk20-25. In other words, the price of potatoes has increased almost 100% as per the government. Media reports showed potatoes were being sold at Tk50 to 55 per kg at the time. This is very unusual for the price of potatoes. Many agriculturists think the increase in the prices of the varieties might have attracted the farmers to produce more this year.