Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 22:
The Agriculture department of Odisha government today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Seeds Corporation (NSC) for production of potato seeds to meet the demand of consumers in the state.
The MoU was signed between Dr SK Chaddha, Director of Horticulture and Pramod Kumar Patnaik, Regional Manager (Kolkata), NSC.
NSC would produce seeds for the fields of farmers in Odisha and other states. It will keep a margin of 5% and 7.5% for the seeds produced outside the state and produced inside the state respectively, said an Odisha government release today.
Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said it has been proposed to produce 50,000 quintals of seed potato and 1,500 quintals of onion seeds during 2014-15 for sale during 2015-16.
Production would be enhanced to 1 lakh quintals of seed potato and 2,000 quintals of onion seeds in 2015-16 and 1.5 lakh quintals of seed potato and 2,500 quintals of onion seeds in 2016-17, said the Minister.
Stating that potato is one of the most important vegetable crops of Odisha, he said the annual requirement of potato is about 10.5 lakh MT whereas the production in the state remains between 2-2.5 lakh MT leaving a huge production gap of 8-9 lakh MT.
The area under potato cultivation has consistently reduced from 25000-30000 ha during 1960 to 14000 hanow, informed the Minister.
One of the major constraints in the increase of potato production or cultivation in the state is the non-availability of quality seeds in time. Lack of sufficient number of cold stores also impacts the storage of produce.
At present, almost all seed potatoes are being procured from other states, especially from the North Indian plains. However, government has taken steps to increase seed production of potato in the state. International Potato Centre (CIP) has been requested to provide short duration varieties befitting Odisha’s rice based cropping system. Central Potato Research Institute, Simla has already provided 200 quintals of Breeder Seeds., said the release.
Agriculture secretary Rajesh Verma said that Directorate of Horticulture will procure the seeds and distribute among the farmers so that the latter get the seeds at reasonable prices.
Government is also trying to enter into MoU with NHRDF, Nashik for seed production of potato and onions, the release said.