Sweet potato farming makes many people happy in Rajshahi

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RAJSHAHI, Feb 13, 2020 (BSS) – 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.

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