Business

Rangpur region produces 39,884 tonnes sweet potato

RANGPUR, The farmers have produced 39,884 tonnes of sweet potato in all five districts under Rangpur agriculture region during Rabi season.

Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and market

sources said farmers are happy with market price of the newly harvested sweet

potato between Taka 900 and 1,000 per every 40 kg (mound) depending on

varieties and qualities.

The DAE had fixed a target of producing 49,635 tonnes of sweet potato from

2,660 hectares of land for Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and

Nilphamari districts in the region this time.

However, farmers had cultivated the crop on 1,780 hectares of land less by

980 hectares of land than the fixed farming target due to crop

diversification and cultivation of winter vegetables, maize and potato on

more land this time.

Horticulture Specialist of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist

Khondker Md. Mesbahul Islam said many char people are farming sweet potato on

sandybarren and char land side by side with farmers in the mainland.

The sandyloamy and sandy land are suitable for sweet potato farming. So,

there is a brighter prospect of enhancing cultivation of the lowcost crop

without using fertilisers and irrigation water on char land, Islam added.

Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh

Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said production of sweet potato could be

increased largely by imparting training, providing latest technologies and

easyterm agriloans to char people.

Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional Md. Moniruzzaman said an adult

person can meet daily demand of 13 gram vitaminA by consuming a single sweet

potato.

The people of Philippines and Papua New Guinea, some African and Latin

American countries consume sweet potato as alternative to rice while in the

USA and Japan it is widely used as food, he added.

Agriculturist Dr MA Mazid, who got Independence Award in food security

category last year, said sandy and sandyloamy land, char lands and riverbeds

are suitable for sweet potato cultivation.

The people living in riverine char areas of Rangpur agriculture region

are farming sweet potato along with widely consuming the produce as

alternative foodstuff like in many other countries, he said.

He said many tasty foods like 'halua', 'payesh', bread, 'pauruti', biscuit,

pastry and cake could be produced through processing sweet potato with other

ingredients for its devitrified consumption.

If we can make common people habituated to sweet potato consumption, we

can largely reduce pressure on rice, Dr Mazid said adding that steps should

be taken to make people aware in this regard.

He called for increasing sweet potato production and suggested for changing

food habit to reduce pressure on rice as sweet potato has the same

carbohydrate, more nutrient and vitamin than many other major foods like

rice.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)