Patna: Amid growing food crisis in the world, a farmer from the eastern Indian state of Bihar has set a new world record in potato production.
Rakesh Kumar who hails from central Bihar district of Nalanda — which is also the home district of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar — has created a new world record by producing 108.8 tonnes of potatoes per hectare. He broke the existing world record of producing 72.9 tonnes of potatoes per hectare previously held by another farmer from his district, who is the namesake of Bihar chief minister. Prior to him, the world record in potato production was held by Netherlands farmers who were able to harvest 45 tonnes of potato per hectare.
State agriculture officials said Rakesh Kumar, who is the chairman of the Nalanda Organic Vegetable Growers Federation, used his learning, inquisitiveness and innovation to deploy high-density plantation technique for growing Kufri Pukhraj variety of potatoes which ultimately earned him international acclaims.
“I have been able to achieve the milestone by using my education and learning in cultivation to a large extent,” Kumar told the media on Monday moments after he emerged as a new star on the horizon.
The agriculture officials were pleasantly surprised when the potato harvesting which was done under their close supervision on Sunday made a new world record, earning the state the real glorious moments for the third consecutive time in a row. The agricultural scientists assessed the yield at 108.8 tonnes per hectares which was 35.9 tonnes more than the previous world record set by Nitish Kumar of Darveshpura village, last year.
“The recent success in potato, paddy and wheat cultivation has unleashed a healthy competition among progressive farmers of the region which is a very good sign for the overall agricultural development in the state,” the local Nalanda district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said.
According to him, the local administration had decided to conduct the crop cutting under proper supervision of the agricultural scientists after having the report about the growth of large-size potatoes and preliminary survey.
Bihar is the third largest potato production state in India after Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal with the total crop cultivation area of over 27,000 hectares.
Earlier in 2011, a farmer from the same Nalanda district Sumant Kumar had created a world record in paddy production by producing 22.4 tonnes of paddy per hectare to beat the existing world record held by a Chinese farmer Yuan Longping. The farmer had adopted the system of rice intensification (SRI), a relatively new technique which uses less water and seeds than the traditional method, to have bumper crop yields.
“The big-sized potato also helped to make a difference,” an upbeat Rakesh said.
District horticulture officer D.N. Mahto said the achievement occurred because of the use of organic methods. “Once again, the organic method of farming proved superior to other methods of farming,” he said.
The state government has decided to promote organic farming in at least one village in each of the state’s 37 districts.