Panchthar aims at becoming self-reliant in potato

PHIDIM: Panchthar, which produces potato worth millions of rupees annually, is making efforts to become self-reliant in the vegetable.

With this, the farmers in Phidim Municipality, Falgunanada, Phalelung, Yangbarak Rural Municipality, hilly and upper hilly region are becoming self-reliant in potato production in recent days.

Production of the vegetable has been good even though cultivated during dry and monsoon seasons in the upper hilly region of the district of late.

Potatoes grown in the higher altitude region are considered more delicious and have attracted the customer's attention. Vegetable traders, buyers have been visiting the farmlands to purchase the product in the district.

With the rise in demand of the vegetable, farmers have been busy working on their farm. A majority of Panchthar potatoes are either consumed or used as seed for farming purpose.

One of the farmers, Subash Mukhiya of Phidim-8 said, with the onset of the winter season, the majority of farmers in the district are busy selling their stored potatoes.

A local farmer Raj Bahadur Tamang said, "Although the production of the vegetable was low compared to last year, farmers got a good price for their product."

According to local trader Mahindra Bahadur Rai, customers prefer 'Rato Allu' (red potato) grown in Pauwabhanjyang, Ithung, Gumbadanda, Pauwasarata and Chamfula region in the district.

Sagar Bista, Chief at the Agriculture Knowledge Centre in Panchthar district, said, "The centre has been providing technical support, seed, fertilizers to the farmers in the region."

Last year, a total of 10658-ton potato was produced in the district. With this production, it has been believed that the import of the vegetable from the terai district has been decreasing in recent days.

The vegetable produced in Panchthar district is supplied to neighbour districts Ilam and Jhapa.