Mechanized harvester makes the potato farmers happy in Rajshahi

Mechanized harvester makes the potato farmers happy in Rajshahi

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Instead of the long-lasting conventional method the potato farmers have started using mechanized harvester as it saves cost and reduces labor requirement during the recent past peak harvesting season for the first time in the district.
According to the sources concerned, the potato-harvester driven by power tiller has been developed in Regional Wheat Research Centre (RWRC) in Rajshahi recently.Subsequently, the semi automatic digging machine fabricated by a local workshop was demonstrated among the farmers.The machine acts as digging the potato beds, rotating flat conveyer belt carry loose soil with potatoes and its high speed rotation separate the potato tubers from soil.
Golam Rasul, a potato farmer of Daingerhat village under Paba upazila of the district, said potato harvester meets up the labour shortage through speeding up the harvesting process. It can harvest potato from around 10-12 bighas of land in average a day depending upon operator skillness.He said the machine requires labour of three persons instead of the conventional eight persons for per bigha of land and the harvesting cost Taka 1,000 per bigha saving cost of at least 60 per cent.Babar Ali of Shayampur village told BSS that there was a huge labour shortage in potato growing areas during peak harvesting period. Manual potato harvesting is a slow, time consuming and costly operation.Potato growers always face risk of bad weather especially harvesting time. Sometime unpredictable rain causes huge damage.  So, potato harvester can cover many areas with in limited time and escape bad weather uncertainty and labour dependency.Farmers start using this harvester in their own field by this time in Rajshahi area. Farmers can be benefited lowering the production cost as well as labour requirement.Agriculture Engineer Dr Israil Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of RWRC, Rajshahi, told BSS that the harvester is a lighter weight machine and easily enter into the small farmers’ fields and a single person can drive the machine.
He said the fabricating cost is around Taka 35,000 and there is no need of specialized training for driving the machine.Dr Hossain said the farmers have started using this harvester in their own field during the harvesting season and the farmers were benefited in curtailing their production cost as well as labour requirement.Meanwhile, the farmers were seen very busy in harvesting potato everywhere in the region as they were happy over the yield and current market price.Many of the farmers told BSS that the potato production was adjudged as higher than that of the previous season by dint of suitable
climatic condition.The Department of Agriculture Extension had set a target of bringing 1.53 lakh hectares of land under potato farming in eight districts
under Rajshahi division but the farmers brought 1.68 lakh hectares.The growers are harvested around 100 bags of potato (each bag contains 90 kg) from per bigha of land and there is no apprehension of incurring loss as price of the cash crop is gradually increasing in local markets. -BSS, Rajshahi

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