Bangladesh: Potato production hits all-time-high

In the last fiscal year (FY'16), Bangladesh's potato production hit an all-time-high of 9.47 million tonnes, the latest data showed. However cold storage facilities showed little progress compared to the higher output.

While the country maintained its seventh position among top potato-producing countries by showing consecutive bumper production in the last four years, shortfall of storage capacity is hurting farmers and traders, sector insiders said.

Potato output was a record 9.47 million tonnes on 4.75 million hectares in FY'16, against 9.254 million tonnes on 4.62 million hectares in FY'15.

The yield growth was measured at 2.33 per cent over that of FY'15, according to provisional estimates by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

The BBS data showed that each hectare yield also increased to 19.9 million tonnes in the last FY from 19.6 million tonnes in FY'15.

Potato production was 8.95 million tonnes in FY'14, 8.60 million tonnes in FY'13 and 8.205 million tonnes in FY'12, the BBS data showed.

Joint-director of BBS (Agri Wing) Bidhan Baral said farmers' expectations of getting a profitable price and favourable weather might have helped increase acreage and production of the key tuber crop in FY'16.

While production has increased by 1.26 million tonnes in the last five years, cold storage facility increased by only 0.4 million tonnes during the period, official data revealed.

Farm economist Prof Golam Hafiz Kennedy said farmers have been doing their basic job (to raise production), but getting little return.

He said potato prices fell to just Tk 1.8 a kg during the harvesting season in FY'14 against production cost of Tk 5.5-Tk 6.5 across the country.

A lack of storage facilities has been depriving farmers of making profits from potato farming, he said.

According to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM), the country had 375 cold storage facilities with 2.7 million tonnes of capacity in FY'15, which was 2.3 million tonnes in FY'11.

Assistant Director of DAM T M Rashed Khan said over 2.02 million tonnes of potatoes were stored in the cold storehouses in 2015 against the capacity of 2.7 million, as many facilities remained shut in Rangpur and Rajshahi regions.

(1 Bangladeshi Taka=0.013 USD)

Source: thefinancialexpress-bd.com

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