'We have set the target for this year at 13,27,000 tons, where as last year the district yielded 13,78,000 tons of potatoes'
Despite a lower production of potatoes this year, farmers are making a profit owing to the quality yield and the demand remaining unchanged in Munshiganj.
According to the local Department of Agriculture Extension sources, the storms delayed potato cultivation this season and farmers have taken up cultivation of corn and summer vegetables as they suffered huge loss in potato cultivation last year.
However, potato farmers have yielded quality potatoes this year without ringworms or other diseases. On top of that, as the demand of potatoes remains unchanged; farmers have been able to make profits as much as twofold this year.
Md Masum, a landowner in Sadar upazila’s Katkhali, said: “Every year we lease out lands to farmers for potato cultivation but due to the losses faced in the last few years, farmers were unwilling to cultivate potatoes this year. So, I hired some farmers and labourers to plant potatoes in my land this year. The yield has been fairly good and the potatoes are of good quality. I have already sold almost 2,000 maunds of potatoes for Tk490 per maund.”
Due to the fair prices of potatoes this year, many farmers were seen at Munshirhat bazar in Sadar upazila selling their potatoes. Potatoes are going for Tk530-540 per ton.
Monsur Miah, a local potato farmer, while selling his potatoes, said: “This year, even with a low yield I am getting fair price for my potatoes, unlike last few years when I suffered losses.”
According to District’s Agriculture Extension Department, around five lakh tons of potatoes can be stored in 74 cold storages in the district. Farmers have to store the rest of the potatoes in traditional methods and need to sell them as early as possible.
Munshiganj Agriculture Extension Department Deputy Director Md Shafiqul Hasan said: “Last year, potato was cultivated in 38,300 hectares whereas this year it was cultivated in 37,600 hectares.
“We have set the target for this year at 13,27,000 tons, where as last year the district yielded 13,78,000 tons of potatoes.”
“Due to the recent urbanization in Sreenagar, Sirajdikhan, and Gajaria upazila, farmlands are dwindling in number. Besides, this year farmers are more interested in cultivating summer vegetables and corn. This year vegetables were cultivated in 4,700 hectares which is 500 hectares more than last year.”
“Munshiganj has always been ahead of other districts in terms of potato cultivation per hectare.”
“Although several varieties of potatoes are cultivated here, the diamond variant is most common in the district,” Shafiqul added.