India’s Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh, said the country is in need of better quality seed to increase potato production of meet rising domestic demand. Potato production stood at 48 million tonnes from an area of 20.8 million hectares in 2014-15, thus making India the world’s second largest producer after China, he said after inaugurating the Potato Technology Centre at Karnal, Haryana. “Production of disease free quality planting material is a major constraint in potato cultivation and the country needs a large quantity of good quality potato seed,” Singh said in a statement. “Presently, new techniques have been standardised especially for production of micro tubers through tissue culture techniques to cater to the need of seed potato,” Singh added.
The ‘Potato Technology Centre’ would help in catering to the demand of a large quantity of disease-free planting material and also help in introduction of new varieties. Singh further said that the consumption of potatoes is set to rise on account of the rising number of working couples, rapid rate of urbanisation, enhanced tendency of eating out of home, higher disposable income levels of people and the important place of potato in fast food items. The estimated domestic demand of potatoes in India is 55 million tonnes by 2025 and 122 million tonne by 2050. The demand for processing quality potatoes will increase from the current level of 2.7 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes and 25 million tonnes in the year 2025 and 2050, respectively. “At the present level of farm management practices we are actually able to harvest only 60.8 per cent of the achievable yield. However, there is enhanced emphasis on efficient dissemination of farm technologies and consequent improvement in farm management practices in the country, it is estimated that we would be able to harvest 80 per cent of achievable yield,” Singh said. Source: business-standard.com