Sweet potato farming makes many people happy in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI Many of the farmers particularly in the

char (riverbed) areas have become happy after harvesting sweet potato in the

region during the current season.

The seasonal crop is cultivated abundantly in char areas of the region

as farmers show their interest for a higher demand of the crop with good

market price.

Abdul Mazid, a sweet potato farmer of Char Shaheb Nagar in Godagari

upazila, said he has cultivated the crop on two bigha of land this season by

spending about Taka 3,500. He has already earned Taka 15,000 by selling his

produce and is hopeful of getting more during the rest of the season.

He said low production cost and easy cultivation process made growers

interested in its cultivation and for this reason its cultivation has

increased considerably in char areas of the region.

Rashidul Haque, another grower of Char Alatali in Chapainawabganj, said

he has brought three bigha of land under cultivation of the crop this season.

He has earned Taka 14,000 so far from the sale of the produce.

He said sandy char lands are very suitable for the cultivation of the

crop. A farmer can produce 65-70 maunds of the crop on one bigha of land. Per

maund sweet potato can be sold between Taka 550 to Taka 600.

Its cultivation cost is also very low as it needs less fertiliser and

irrigation. Only Taka 6,500 to Taka 7000 is required for the cultivation of

the crop one bigha of land.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has set a

target of producing 32,265 tonnes of sweet potato from 1,730 hectares of land

in all eight districts under Rajshahi division.

Shamsul Haque, Deputy Director of DAE, told BSS that the sandy lands and

the riverbeds are suitable for the sweet potato cultivation. So, people of

the Ganges and Brahmaputra basins and the remote char areas are habituated in

the farming widely besides consuming it.

Production cost of the crop is very low, as it requires less fertilizer

and irrigation. He said nutritive value of the crop is similar to rice and

its taste is delicious.

It contains vitamin-A and C and expected mineral elements, which are

absent in rice. It is also enriched with protein, carbohydrate, calcium,

iron, carotene and vitamin B1 and B2, which are essential for human body.

An adult person needs 13 grams vitamin-A per day that can be fulfilled

after consuming only a single sweet potato.

Agriculturist Haque mentioned that people of the Philippines and Papua

New Guinea consume sweet potato as alternative of rice while in USA and Japan

it is used as food widely.

He also opined that different types of tasty foods like halua, payesh,

bread, pauruti, biscuit, pastry and cake could be made through processing the

indigenous potato.

Dependence on rice can be reduced to a greater extent if people were

habituated to consume sweet potato, he added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)