Dying potato plants worry farmers in Rangpur
A large number of farmers in different areas in the district are worried as their potato plants are dying due to substandard seeds, imported by a private company from the Netherlands.
The importer is yet to respond to a demand for compensation for losses from the low-quality potato seeds, the affected growers allege.
Agro Concern, a private agro-based firm in Dhaka, had imported the Dutch seeds of granola potato and supplied those to Rafiqul Islam and Mostafizur Rahman, two of its agents in Rangpur. The agents sold the seeds to farmers at Tk 6,000 to Tk 7,000 per carton (50kg).
The affected farmers, mostly in Pirgachha, Mithapukur, Kounia and Rangpur Sadar upazilas, purchased potato seeds of the variety from the local agents and sowed those about one month back.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture Extension said potato plants on about 500 bighas of land in the district got rotten.
According to Shamsul Alam, a potato grower of Mahiganj, 35 days after plantation, potato plants on 15 bighas turned yellow and died.
So are the experiences of Khairul Alam Mona of Dimla, Faruque Hossain of Mahiganj, Akbar Hossain of Jarindra under Rangpur Sadar upazila, Amjad Hossain of Pirgachha upazila and Noor Alam of Mithapukur.
When contacted, Agro Concern's local agent Mostafizur Rahman told The Daily Star that he informed the company Chairman Dr Abdul Quader of the problem.
Quader requested Deputy Director (seeds) of Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation Delwar Hossain to examine the affected potato fields.
Hossain went to the fields of some of the affected farmers. But what he reported to the company chairman could not be known.
However, Quader thinks it might be a problem with soil or weather. Dutch experts are expected to arrive in the area next month to examine the potato fields, said to be affected, added Agro Concern's boss.