Bangladesh Farmers Double Profits with Early Variety Potatoes
Farmers in the Nilphamari district of Bangladesh have placed their bets on cultivating highly profitable early variety potatoes, which are ready to harvest 30% faster than other varieties and normally bear higher price tags. These potato varieties can be harvested in 60 days after sowing seeds, much lower than the 90 days needed by other varieties, farmers in Nilphamari district said.
The early variety remains in the market for a short time and is normally sold at Tk70-80 a kg (USD1) – which is almost double the price of traditional varieties. And this year, farmers believe the prices will be as high as Tk100 per kg (USD1.2).
“This potato variety, despite being highly-priced, is very popular among buyers because of its early availability and taste,” said Habibur Rahman, the local agriculture officer.
Traditional potatoes are usually sown in December and harvested in March, while the early variety potato seeds are sown in September. But this year, floods have delayed the process by a month. However, farmers believe that the delay will not have an impact on yield.
“This short-duration potato variety is helping us make double profits. We can now cultivate potato twice on the same land in a season,” said farmer Sabed Ali of Putimari village. “At first we sow early potato in September-October and then we go for production with the traditional variety in mid-December.
Traders from Dhaka and other big cities come directly to different villages in Kishoreganj with trucks to purchase early potato in November and December, said Farhanul Haque, senior vice-president of Nilphamari Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We try to cooperate with them as the crop is harvested here much earlier than other districts in the country,” he added.
Liaquat Ali, sub-assistant agriculture officer of Kishoreganj, said this year they target to cultivate the short-duration early variety potato on about 7,000 hectares, up from 6,500 hectares last year.