Improving livelihood of poor farmers by expanding potato in lowland rice system in non-traditional potato growing areas of Northern West Bengal-India

M Ahmed1, S. Arya2, MS Kadian2, R. Quiroz3and S.K.BardhanRoy4

  1. Directorate of Agriculture, Siliguri, Government of West Bengal, 2.International Potato Center (CIP), SWCA Region, NASC Complex, New Delhi;3. International potato Center (CIP), Lima-Peru, 4. Center For strategic Study, Kolkata


In West Bengal the land holdings are very small to support big families.  The project aims  to intensify the production system on a small field by taking potato and  boro rice at a time  to obtain higher yield of potato and boro(summer) rice  without sacrificing either of  the two crops  thus expanding  potato area and increasing farmers’ income by adopting“Double – Transplanting Technology” (DTT)’s  to intensify the production. It saves time and money of the cultivators along-with increased production and income.


The demonstrations were organized in three blocks of North West Bengal to acquaint farmers with DTT method in Kharif (monsoon) rice on jute harvested plots.  The Rajganj block is traditional potato growing area in Jalpaiguri district where 6.6 acres of land involving 20 farmers was under demonstrations in 3 years. While Kharibari and Phansidewa blocks, Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district, are non-traditional potato area and demonstration trials were organized with 65 farmers on 12 acres of land. Potato seeds of Kufri Pukhraj were supplied to 85 participatory farmers in the form of 30% financial assistance by the project. Detailed data of economic analysis of cultivation practices, yield and net income for potato were collected and analyzed. The yield ranged between 28-30 t/ha in Phansidewa and kharibari and 30-38t/ha at Rajgunj.The rice seeds of three early varieties, MTU1010, Satabadi and IET-4094 for boro planting were distributed among the farmers for Boro rice.


Results revealed that in all the project sites “Potato-DT Rice technology” produced higher net income/ha compared to other two systems viz, traditional potato-boro rice and rice-boro rice. The double transplanted boro rice produced much higher yield compared to Boro rice transplanted after potato and mono cultured boro rice.  Among the sites, the new technology produced 27% higher income over traditional Potato-Boro rice and 290% over mono Boro rice.  The net income in Potato-double transplanting is higher, almost 5 times more than the normal boro rice alone. It has been revealed that from  all the three sites the cost of “double transplanting of boro rice” were less  compared to “Kharif Rice-Boro rice”  and  “Potato-Normal Boro rice systems”. The yield under double transplanting was significantly higher than normal boro rice. Moynaguri area of Kharibari showed maximum gain from the new technology, while Phansidewa block showed inappropriate area for adoption of this technology (barring a few spots). Other sites revealed good opportunity for adoption by farmers.


Table -1.Cost of production and net income (US$/ha) from Potato cultivation in Potato-Boro rice cropping system.

Sites Total cost of production Net income Cost: Benefit ratio CV%
Phansidewa 1807.31 1186.44 1.5 19.09
Kharibari- Moynaguri 2136.25 1760.26 1.16 7.59
Kharibari-Goursingejote 2005.63 1471.37 1.36 31.3
Rajgunj 2358.04 1293.25 1.8 57.5


Table-2.Yield (t/ha) of Boro rice under different cropping systems.

 Sites Potato-DT. Boro rice  Potato- Boro ricer Rice- Boro rice
Kharibari-Moynaguri  9.0987   6.285  6.390
Kharibari-Goursingjote  8.817   6.564  6.610
Rajgunj  6.511   5.639  4.887


Table-3.Net income (US$/ha) from Boro rice obtained from different cropping system.

Site  System  GVP* (US$/ha)  Total expenditure (US$/ha)  Net income (US$/ha)
Rajgunge Potato—DT Boro rice 1325.51 250.00 1075.51
Potato-Boro rice 1221.78 658.12 563.66
Rice-Boro rice 1107.75 777.50 330.25
Kharibari-Goursinghjote Potato-DT boro rice 1910.35 419.63 1490.73
Potato-Boro rice 1422.20 353.75 1068.45
Rice-Boro rice 1443.43 496.25 947.18
Kharibari-Moynaguri Potato–DT Boro rice 1971.13 305.25 1665.87
 Potato-boro rice 1361.92 477.50 884.47
 Rice- Boro rice 1384.57 503.13 881.38

GVP* (Gross Value of Product)

Potato seed distribution in Jalpaiguri, Myanfuri, and Goursinghjot

Potato Crop in ChathautField of boro rice and potato Farmer observing boro rice, and showing the poster,Mynaguri                                    

Gender Responsive Meetings:

In allthe blocks, several trainings and demonstrations were organized including both male and females. Total 110 farmers got the seeds and other input support. Another 120 farmers got inspired to go for double transplanting on their own. This year target is to reach to 500 farmers. Three Self Help Groups of women for potato crop have been initiated, few women got inspired to take land on lease also.



The project helped the farmers of the North West Bengal districts to change the cropping system practices to take the maximum economic benefits from the same piece of land.It has been observed that the production of rice increases, when boro rice is grown after potato, because rice roots absorb the excess residual fertilizer left in the field after the potato crop. Another factor which enhances the production of rice is early planting (10-15 days) of DT rice than the normal time,this reduces the loss due to chilling.

Acknowledgement: It is duly acknowledged that Borlaug Vision Society (BVS) facilitate to work and also entire data collected with the help of BVS.



Robin D. Graham, Ross M. Welch, David A. Saunders, Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio, Howarth E. Bouis, Merideth Bonierbale, Stef de Haan, Gabriella Burgos, Graham Thiele, Reyna Liria, Craig A. Meisner, Steve E. Beebe, Michael J. Potts, Mohinder Kadian, Peter R. Hobbs, Raj K. Gupta and Steve Twomlow. 2007.  Nutritious Subsistence Food Systems.  Advances in Agronomy. Vol.92. PP 1-74.

Bardhan Roy, S.K., Saha, N.K., Kadian, M.S., Quiroz, R., Ilangantileke, S.G. 2007.  Improving livelihood of farmers by intensifying the rice-potato-rice system through double transplanting of rice in West Bengal, India.Working Paper.2007-1. International Potato Center. ISBN: 978-92-9060-314-6. PP:24