Taplejung aims at becoming self-reliant in potatoTaplejung, which produces potato worth Rs2 billion annually, is making efforts to become self-reliant in the vegetable.
Taplejung, which produces potato worth Rs2 billion annually, is making efforts to become self-reliant in the vegetable.
The District Agriculture Development Office has been supporting farmers to adopt commercial production techniques to boost productivity of potato, one of the most popular vegetables in Nepal.
For this, Bung Kulung area of Hang Devi VDC has been identified as potato pocket area. The area has also started producing potato seeds.
The office plans to supply the seeds to all villages in the district.
“We are producing three different types of potato species,” said Rabindra Bahadur Pradhan, senior agriculture development officer. He said in the first phase, they have purchased potato seeds produced by 10 households in the village and distributed to other parts of the district.
“Productivity of these species is high compared to other traditional varieties,” he said, adding it gives higher production in small area of land.
Potato is produced in all parts of the district as its productivity is better than paddy. However, the district lacks commercial farming. “We used to cultivate potato for household purpose only,” said Pasang Rita Sherpa, president of Fresh Vegetable Producers Farmers Group in Bung Kulung. “Now, we have started commercial cultivation.”
He said that they would adopt both open sky and tunnel farming techniques.
According to Pradhan, people in the mountain region normally eat potato as substitute to rice so the district’s potato consumption is relatively high.
According to the office, in 2015-16, the district produced 48,345 tonnes of potato. This fiscal year, the area under potato cultivation has increased significantly.
Farmers had been suffering from pest infection and other national disaster in the past years.
However, they are now happy after the government launched crop insurance policy, said Naresh Thakur, a horticulture officer.
Potato is cultivated on 3,925 hectares of land in the district. Potato produced in Olangchung Gola is normally exported to Tibet, while the rest of the production is consumed in the district. Papung, Nalbu, Yamphudin and Lelep VDCs are the key producers of potato in the district.