The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has fixed a target of producing 42.47 lakh tons of potato from 1.72 lakh hectares of land for all eight districts in two agriculture regions of Rangpur division during this Rabi season.
The DAE officials said farmers started sowing early varieties of potato seeds after harvesting short duration and early varieties of Aman rice from early October last, to harvest those from the first week of December and earn more profits.
The fixed target includes production of 23.39 lakh tons of potatoes from 92,675 hectares of land in five districts of Rangpur agriculture region and 19.08 tons of potatoes from 79,914 hectares of land in three districts of Dinajpur agriculture region.
Acting Additional Director of the DAE at its Rangpur regional office Agriculturist Md. Moniruzzaman said that sowing of potato seeds will get momentum with the progress in Aman rice harvesting and continue till December next.
The DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute and other agri-related organizations are assisting farmers to make the intensive potato farming program a success.
"Tender plants of early varieties of potatoes are growing fabulously amid favorable climatic conditions."
Farmers Ramjan Ali, Abu Taleb, and Echhahaq of different villages in Rangpur Sadar upazila said they completed sowing early varieties of potato seeds after harvesting short duration Aman rice by October last.
Farmers Sukumar Roy, Abdul Haque, Asgar Ali, and Karim Mian said they are expecting to harvest early varieties of their cultivated potatoes from next week to reap healthier profits.
Meanwhile, farmers Shachindra Nath, Bulbul Ahmed, and Arman Ali of Chandanpat union in Rangpur Sadar upazila said they would start sowing late varieties of potato seeds on their croplands after harvesting Aman rice from late November.
Vegetable trader Hafizur Rahman at Rangpur City Bazar and Fazlur Rahman at Keranipara Kitchen Market in the city said early varieties of potatoes might appear soon in local markets to bring lucrative prices to farmers.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said the DAE and other organizations are providing quality potato seeds to farmers and supplying fertilizers for successful potato cultivation.
"Field level officials of the DAE, other agriculture-related organizations and NGOs are providing suggestions and technologies to farmers for proper sowing of potato seeds and nursing tender potato plants to get maximum yield."
Agriculturist Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid, who got the Independence Award-2018 (food security), highly lauded various efforts taken by the government to assist farmers in enhancing production of potatoes and other Rabi crops this season.
Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid:
"Farmers are expected to cross the fixed potato farming target and get its record yield during this Rabi season in Rangpur division."
He also added that the present high market price of potatoes inspires farmers to cultivate the crop on more lands.
President of Rangpur Chamber Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu stressed on setting up of adequate potato preservation facilities and agri-industries and enhancing export to make potato cultivation more profitable for farmers.