Trashigang farmers expect bountiful potato harvest this year

With timely rainfall this year, the farmers of Trashigang are hoping for a bountiful potato harvest this year.

Potato is the main cash crop for the farmers in the dzongkhag.

Dorji, a 51-year-old farmer said that he expects to harvest a good yield this year. “We will surely have a good yield this year as we are having timely rainfall and all works have been completed on time.”

Dorji said that the absence of rain last year weakened the potato plants and the prices were not favorable, too.

He sold around 40 bags of potato last year in Samdrup Jongkhar but as the market was not good, he could not make desired profits. However, this year he expects more potato produce and a better market.

Another farmer said that though their potatoes could not fetch good prices last year, there was not much difference in the area under potato cultivation last year and this year.

Normally, the production figures keep fluctuating every year and it is mostly impacted by the prices in the previous years.

For instance, the dzongkhag produced 11,224MT of potatoes in 2014, while in 2015 the production dropped to 10,634MT. Again the production increased to 15,246MT in 2016 and in 2017, production decreased to 9,822MT.

Agriculture officials said difference in timing of rainfall, area of cultivation, interest of the farmers, and crop damage by animals could have led to the fluctuations in the yield.

Wangmo, another farmer said since potatoes fetch good income, farmers have started cultivating more potatoes than before. “But the market prices were not good last year.”

According to her, due to last year’s price she did not cultivate more potatoes this year.

“But anyhow, I expect more produce this year compared to last year because of the timely rainfall”, she said adding that the farmers are hoping the market prices will favor them which would be a bonus to the increase in yield.

Potatoes are cultivated by January end to February and harvested by July to August.

Jigme Wangchen from T/gang