Odisha signs MoU with National Seeds Corporation

Bhubaneswar, Oct 23: In its bid to make the state self-sufficient in potato production, Odisha government signed an MoU with National Seeds Corporation (NSC) for procuring adequate quantity of quality potato seeds.

"The MoU has been made for production of seed potatoes by NSC in the fields of farmers of our State or other States," Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy said.

NSC will keep a margin of 5 per cent and 7.5 per cent for the seeds produced outside the state and those produced in the state respectively, Maharathy said adding that it has been proposed to produce 50,000 quintals of seed potato and 1,500 quintals onion seeds during 2014-15 for sale during 2015-16.

Similarly 1.0 lakh quintals of seed potato and 2,000 quintals of onion seeds will be produced during 2015-16 and 1.5 lakh of quintals of seed potato and 2,500 quintals of onion seeds will be produced during 2016-17 respectively, the minister said.

While the annual requirement of potato is about 10.5 lakh tonnes (LT), the production in the state remains between 2 to 2.5 LT leaving a gap of nearly 8 to 9 LT. The area under potato cultivation has reduced from 25,000 hectare to 30,000 ha during 1960 to 14,000 hactare in 2013-14.

Stating that one of the major constraints of reduction of potato production/cultivation is availability of quality seeds in time, the minister said lack of sufficient cold stores also impacts the storage.

Quality seed is one of the important inputs for increasing potato production. At present almost all seed potatoes are being procured from other States especially North Indian plains.

However, the state government has taken steps to increase seed production of potato. International Potato Centre (CIP) has been requested to provide short duration varieties befitting our rice based cropping system while the Central Potato Research Institute, Simla has already provided 200 quintal of Breeder Seeds, he said.