Karnal, Apr 6 : Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh inaugurated the Potato Technology Center, in Shamgarh ,Karnal, Haryana on Wednesday.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that production of disease free quality planting material is a major constrain in potato cultivation and India needs large quantities of good quality potato seeds. Presently, new techniques have been standardized especially for production of micro tubers through tissue culture techniques to cater to the need of seed potato.
The minister also said the opening of Potato Technology Centre at Karnal will not only come in a big way to cater to the demand of large quantity of disease free planting material at a time but will also help in introduction of new varieties. It will certainly boost production and productivity of farmers and processing industries of Haryana as well as neighbouring states.
The minister also highlighted that the current share of potato to agricultural GDP is 2.86pc from 1.32pc cultivable area. On the contrary, the two principal food crops, rice and wheat, contribute 18.25pc and 8.22pc of agricultural GDP, respectively from 31.19 and 20.56pc cultivable area, respectively (FAOSTAT). It indicated that contribution of potato in agricultural GDP from unit area of cultivable land is about 3.7 times higher than rice and 5.4 times higher than wheat
Singh further said that a rising number of working couples, rapid rate of urbanization, enhanced tendency of eating out of home, higher disposable income levels of people and important place of potato in fast food items, create an ideal situation for enormous expansion of potato consumption in the near and distant future.
Estimated domestic demand of potatoes in India is 55 million tonnes during 2025 and 122 million tonnes during 2050. Demand for processing quality potatoes will increase from current level of 2.7 million tonnes to 6 and 25 million tonnes in 2025 and 2050, respectively. On similar lines, the food demand for fresh potatoes will increase from the current 24 million tonne to 38 tonnes and 78 million tonnes during 2025 and 2050, respectively. Although, the demand for potato seed will grow nearly 2.1 time (2.96 to 6.1 million tonnes) by 2050, yet, highly concerted efforts needs to be directed towards providing desirable quality seed potatoes to all farmers at remunerative prices, the minister said.
The Minister said that at present level of farm management practices, we are actually able to harvest only 60.8pc 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 80pc of achievable yield.
Singh said that potato is always the front-runner when processing of agri-commodities is considered.
Analysis of pattern of Indian processing industry suggests that demand for processing quality potatoes over next 40 years will rise at the fastest pace for French fries (11.6pc ) followed by potato flakes/ powder (7.6pc ) and potato chips (4.5pc ). The actual demand for processing potatoes will rise from 2.8 million tonnes in 2010 to 25 million tonnes during 2050. At present, production of Potato is 48.0 million tonnes from an area of 20.8 million ha during 2014-15, thus making India the second largest potato producer in the world after China.