Easier days for potato farmers as traders reach farms to buy

Published On: January 20, 2018 09:01 AM NPT By: DB BUDDHA

JUMLA, Jan 20: Farmers of Patarasi Rural Municipality have been delighted to welcome traders at their doorsteps, who travel all the way to buy potatoes. Although the rural municipality is connected the road network, lack of concrete bridge has made transportation to the rural municipality difficult. But despite the difficulties, the traders are reaching to the rural municipality to purchase potatoes from farmers. 

The farmers used to transport potatoes from the village to Urthu Bazar, using potters and mules. From Urthu Bazar, vehicles would carry potatoes to different parts of the country. However, with the traders reaching the farmers’ homes, things have become easier for the farmers. 

Tara Bahadur Bohora from Patarasi Rural Municipality said that every year they have been supplying apples in monsoon and potatoes in winter season from their village. Bohora grows 20 quintal of potatoes every year. 

With the traders reaching his place to purchase potatoes, he has been encourage to expand his farm. So, he has started commercial potato farming on a separate plot of land. There are many farmers like Bohora in the village who are attracted toward potato farming. 

Currently, farmers sell a kilogram of potatoes at Rs 20 at their farm. When it reaches the district headquarters Khalanga, the price increases to Rs 30 per kilogram. 

Mani Krishna Budha, a farmer from the village said that potato farming is helping him earn good profit with less risk. It may be the reason for the farmers to be attracted to potato farming, according to Budha.

“Patarasi rural municipality has a good potential of potatoes farming,” Budha said adding, “But the lack of transportation is troubling the business.”    

Budha further said that traders have been supplying potatoes to five districts of erstwhile Karnali zone and some other districts in western Nepal. “If concrete bridges were built, the potatoes could be supplied even to Surkhet, Nepalgunj, Butwal, Chitwan, and Kathmandu,” Budha added. 

Potato farming of Patarasi is not only fulfilling the needs of farmers but also helping the economic status of Khalanga Bazar to go up. Potato farming has covered around 100 hectare of land of Dillichaur Wards 6 and 8, and Chhumchaur 8 of the rural municipality, according to Chandra Bahadur Budha, crop preservation officer of the District Agricultural Development Office of Jumla. 

Approximately 10 tons of potatoes are produced per hectare of land, according to Budha. “This rural municipality has been considered as a pocket area of potatoes,” he said.
The improved potato business has improved the farmers’ livelihood too. Now the farmers are demanding proper road connection so that they could easily transport their produce.       
Currently the farmers of the rural municipality are earning minimum Rs 20,000 to maximum Rs 150,000 a month by selling potatoes. Most of the land in Jumla has been covered by potato farming, said Balak Ram Devkota, planning officer of DADO Jumla. According to the DADO statistics, total 3,650 hectares of land in Jumla has been covered by potato farming, from which Jumla is producing 26,000 tons of potatoes annually. 

Forty percent of potatoes produced here are supplied to the market and remaining 60 percent are being consumed inside the district.

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