Agartala, Sep 19: Tripura's Horticulture department has adopted a new method of potato cultivation by using apical rooted cuttings to produce quality seeds, an official said on Tuesday.
In the northeastern state, the farmers usually import potato seeds from outside the state and are facing challenges due to poor productivity and pest infection.
"To address the perennial problem in potato cultivation, the horticulture department has set up a hi-tech greenhouse to produce quality seeds by adopting apical rooted cutting which has already become popular in Assam and Meghalaya", Deputy Director of the department, Rajib Ghosh told PTI.
"Initially, we have set a target of producing 50,000 seeds of potato from the hi-tech greenhouse set up at Nagicherra Agricultural Research Centre, 17 km from the state capital", he said, adding that the department has already roped in International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru.
Apical cuttings are rooted transplants produced in a greenhouse from tissue culture plantlets. Rather than allowing tissue culture plantlets to mature and produce mini tubers, cuttings are produced from the plantlets. Once rooted, the cuttings are transplanted into the field to produce seed tubers.
Ghosh said the seeds will be distributed among the farmers to grow potatoes in their farmlands.
"The department aims to attain self-reliance as far as high yielding variety of potato seeds by using apical rooted cuttings by next five years because imported seeds from outside the state are not enough to increase the production in the northeastern state. We believe the plan will bring respite to the farmers who are not satisfied with the existing seeds", he said, adding that the new technique if successfully implemented the farmers will be able to sell their potato seeds on a commercial basis.
Ghosh said the department has already initiated training for farmers to adopt the new technique of potato cultivation with active technological guidance from CIP in Peru.