The potato harvesting has started in all the six upazilas of the district. But, the farmers are not getting fair price of their produce.
The natural disasters in different times damaged potato lands across the district, decreasing the production.
As the farmers did not get fair price of potato in the last two seasons, they cultivated potato taking loans from different sources this season. But, as they could not pay last season’s cold storage rent, they left the potato at the cold storage this season.
Meanwhile, local agricultural officers advised the farmers to store potato using local method and sell the produce after three to four months.
Potato is the cash crop of the district. Despite repeated losses, the local farmers have been cultivating the vegetable every year.
For preserving potatoes, there are 71 privately-run cold storages in the district that have the storage capacity of 5.40 lakh metric tons of potatoes.
In the last year, at least 13,51,129 metric tonnes of potatoes were produced, and of those the farmers preserved about 60,000 to 65,000 metric tons of potatoes as seeds while they sold the remaining potatoes from the fields and saved some locally.
Potato was cultivated on 38,300 hectares of land this year which are at least 1,000 metric tons less than the last year’s.
Farmers said, as potato production is not increasing, prices are also less. Wholesalers are not coming even to buy. They are spending at least Tk 350 in producing one maund potato. Presently, per maund potato is selling at the same price. So they are not getting any profit.
They also said, they have to pay at least Tk 200 to preserve 50kg potato in cold storage. Last year, they had to pay Tk 300 to 350 for storing 80kg potato.
In this connection, the farmers demanded government help to market the unsold potatoes.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Munshiganj Md. Humayun Kabir admitted less production and price of potato this year and hoped that by preserving potatoes locally for three to four months, the farmers may be able to get fair price of the produce.