About 90% of farmers in the district are involved in potato cultivation for its being a profitable crop with low cost and high yield
Potato harvesting season has started in Munshiganj. Currently, everybody from farmers to their wives and children are working tirelessly to collect, bag and transport the cash crop in one of the largest producing districts in Bangladesh.
According to the local Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), more land was brought under potato cultivation this season compared to the last season.
However, as farmers hope for bumper yields, they also fear potential losses due to the lack of necessary measures being in place to guarantee a minimum price and sufficient provisions for storage.
According to official sources, one-third of Bangladesh’s potato demand is met by Munshiganj. Here, about 10 varieties of potatoes, including Diamond, Granola, Cardinal, Lady Rossetta and Asterix, are cultivated. However, diamond potatoes alone usually occupy 90% of the land in the district.
Almost all local farmers are involved in potato cultivation due to its being a very profitable crop with low cost and high yield. Every year potatoes are cultivated in about two-thirds of all the land in Munshiganj. It is here that traders from different areas, including Faridpur, Bhola, Barisal, Narayanganj and Dhaka, come to buy potatoes.
This season, potatoes have been planted in more than 37,800 hectares of land in the district. Last year, over 1.3 tons of potatoes were produced on 37,590 hectares.
The DAE has expressed the hope that similar to last year, more than 1.3 million tons of potatoes will be produced this year as well.
Since the 1700s, potatoes have been cultivated in Munshiganj. In 1778, farmers first started cultivating the British variety of potatoes in the district.
Munshiganj DAE Deputy Director Shah Alam said: “Compared to last year, potato cultivation this year has increased. Although we are yet uncertain of the numbers, we are expecting a production of over 1.3 million tons of potatoes.
“Farmers are now harvesting the crops and will continue to do so till April. As for storage facilities, 72 cold storages have been prepared with a total capacity of about 500,000 tons of potatoes.”
“With an increase in potato production, the need for more storage space arises. Thus, we have made recommendations to the authorities concerned to ensure multifaceted use of potatoes. For example, potato chips factory and potato processing plant. If we pay attention to these issues, potato traders and farmers will be freed from losses, all the while creating new jobs.”