In the scenario of Bangladesh, potato is the third most important crop in terms of production and consumption as well as its high nutritional value, quick economic return and its multiple uses as vegetable and delicious processed items. Various processed items like flakes, starch, chips and crips, frozen French fries, rings of potato are being produced at industrial level while chips, French-fries, sun-dried products are produced at home-scale level from potatoes.
Moreover, in recent years, potato has become an important crop for food security, especially during extreme flooding during the monsoon. Potato is the only crop for which seed stocks are kept in cold stores ready for immediate planting after floods.
Bangladesh experienced much progress in its potato production in the past decades. The farmers of Bangladesh have strong interest in using reliable sources high quality seed potato varieties and they are very concerned on a wide range of unique potato varieties that have effective resistance, strong variety characteristics and a high yield. Per hectare yield of potato is increased day by day due to use of quality seeds of modern varieties.
From the last few decades many high yielding varieties of potato from Agrico are being imported to Bangladesh and recommended farmers for general cultivation. These varieties are grown for the local market and for household consumption. However, huge quantity of potato seeds are imported every year from the Agrico by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) through the Agrico agent in Bangladesh. The Agrico varieties such as Alouette, Carolus, Levante, Diamant, Adato, Fontane, Twinner, Beyonce play an important role in Bangladesh.
Potato is grown more or less all areas in Bangladesh specially in Munshiganj, Bogura, Rangpur and Dinajpur during winter.
Well-fertilized, sunny land with sufficient moisture in soil is appropriate for potato plantation. The first fortnight of November is the right time. In certain northwestern areas, farmers even plant potato in October to harvest the crop early. Virtually all potatoes in this country are planted manually. On the basis of the soil quality and potato variety farmers determine the spacing in between the seed tubers and the adjacent rows. Optimum depth of planting depends on temperature and moisture of the soil, probable weather following planting, and mode of conducting field operations later.
The Agrico potato varieties that are used in Bangladesh have various advantages. The varieties have the right properties, such as tuber size and shape, skin and flesh color, skin setting, eye depth, dormancy, dry matter content and flavor. The healthy uniform tubers have good emergence, soil coverage and high yield. The Agrico potato varieties are therefore grown in Bangladesh on a large scale. The size of the tuber and the number of tubers per plant, disease resistance quality of the variety as well as less fertilizer requirement for cultivation are also very important factors for huge success of these varieties.
Moreover, Agrico varieties have good heat or drought tolerance, high herbicide tolerance and are resistant to viruses and fungi, such as Phytophthora Infestans, wart disease, late blight disease and PCN (Potato Cyst Nematode). This results in an increase in yields and a reduction in costs because the local farmers have to use fewer crop protection products, personnel and machines to keep the crop healthy.
Agrico has been working for decades along with Agrico’s agent in Bangladesh, Malik and Company, on the development and introduction of Agrico varieties that are suitable for the Bangladesh context and in recent years it is seen that the Next Generation Varieties are also finding their importance