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Taro brings smile to farmers

The production of taro, a popular and nutritious vegetable in Bangladesh, is on the rise as farmers are increasingly cultivating it after enjoying a good amount of profit.

The farmers said taro brings good profit due to its relatively low production cost.

Commercial cultivation amid growing demand brings plenty of taro in the country’s market this season. There are different kinds of taro cultivated in Bangladesh but some, locally known as maan kachu, mura kachu, latiraj kachu, owl kachu, mukhi Kachu and pani Kachu, are the most popular.

Many farmers across the country have become successful in commercial cultivation of taro by dint of its low production cost and lucrative market price, the sector people said.

In 2020, the roots and tubers production in the country was 9.85 million tonnes while it was only 1.37 million tonnes in 1974, according to Knoema, an Eldridge business data source.

Mukhlesur Rahman, Project Director of Tuber Crop Development Project of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), told the Daily Sun that production of taro increased manifold in the country due to the expansion of new varieties and the introduction of modern cultivation process.

“Farmers can cultivate it in the rainy season on their fallow and aquatic land with lower input cost. It does not need to use any insecticide and the demand for taro is also higher in foreign countries,” he said.

Suitable soil, favourable weather and necessary help from the agriculture offices also brought good taro harvest in the country, said the officials.

The tuber crops can grow on any kind of land including moist and shady places while average yield is higher than other crops.

Farmers are cultivating taro on a large scale during the monsoon as it requires little nursing while fertilisers are not necessary for its growth.

Shafiqul Islam, a farmer from Jhenaidah, said he cultivated latiraj kachu on a 10-decimal low-lying land last year spending Tk 8,000. He earned around Tk 60,000.

Islam expanded the farming and cultivated taro in around one Bigha of land this year.

The cultivation of taro is gaining popularity as the farmers are getting fair prices for their crop this year. Different kinds of taro are now sold at around Tk 70-80 per kg in the capital Dhaka while its price in the growers end roam around TK 50-60 per kg.

Encouraged by the fair prices, farmers are now cultivating taro on a commercial basis across the country.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), production of pani kachu was 62,210.30 tonnes in FY 2020-21 while it was 57,149 tonnes in FY 2018-19.

Production of mukhi kachu was 109,803 tonnes in FY 2020-21 while it was 109,322 in FY 2018-19, The production of owl kachu was 17,037 tonnes in FY 2020-21 while it was 12,165 tonnes in FY 2018-19 and latiraj kachu was 54,067 tonnes in FY 2020-21 while it was 41,521 tonnes in FY 2018-19.