The month of May is when cultivation of kate kange in the state by local farmers commences, reports Bhiva P Parab
Farmers have to take good care of the kate kange seed so that they are available during the next season for cultivation. Kate kange’ (hairy potatoes) are priced higher than the sweet potatoes which mostly come from outside the state. However despite the high price Goans prefer to buy local kate kange instead of sweet potatoes coming in from across the borders.
The price of kate kange depends on its size and for the bigger variety the farmers and the vendors gets more money as usually the bigger produce has better taste. In the marker about 8 to 10 bigger ones are sold at Rs 100, while around 10 to 15 smaller ones are sold for Rs 50. Some vendors even sell kate kange in kgs and they are priced at around Rs 80 to 100 a kg, however the sweet potatoes which come from outside the state are priced at around Rs 40 a kg.
According to the information available from the sources the cultivation of the hairy potatoes is usually carried out in the end of May or month of June-July and while harvesting is done in the month of October-November. Cultivation does not require very hard work. The seed which has been retained from the previous harvest is buried at almost equal distance in the field in straight line. The crop has to be watered if there is no rains and fertilizers need to be spread in the field. Once the creeper start growing a support of bamboo or any other plant sticks could be given
“I and my family like the taste of the kate kange so we buy if it is costly also and they could be boiled and eaten or they can be put into the curry. The kate kange once bought could be stored for several days and they don’t get spoiled and so if we buy in bulk at a time also we can use it over several days,” said a consumer.
The farmers who cultivate these kate kange either sell directly in the local markets or they sell it to the wholesalers and then these ‘Kate Kange’ goes to the various markets and the farmers after keeping aside whatever is required for the self-consumption and for seed purpose the remaining is sold in the market, according to the information available from the sources.
According to the information available from the sourcesthe kate kange has quite good demand and the rates vary according to the demand and supply of the hairy potatoes. The younger generation should come forward and take interest in the farming activities and work in the agricultural field and the kate kange cultivation could be done into large tracks of land. The kate kange being a hardy crop can stand adverse condition and does not spoil easily in too much rains and also if there is dry spell, however the farmers have to take good care of the seed so that they are available during the next season for cultivation and the seed which is required for the cultivation has to be maintained by the farmers themselves, it is learnt from the sources.