Sweet Potato believed to be “Domesticated in Central America” and Potato “Originated in Andes Hills”, yet, both are favorite in the heart of people of Tripura. However, favorite, favorable and preference, all these words vary differently between these two types potato as far as popularity and preferences at the present context is concerned.
Potato; it is next to impossible to miss in the daily menu so is preference and popularity in the state Tripura. In terms of production although not in the distinguishable rank of all India level but potato in Tripura is produced quite significantly to meet the demands of the people.
On the other hand, Sweet Potato; it is somewhat rare bird in the populous market of potato. This sweet produce is consumed seasonally except in season, it rarely makes its existence, and people prefer Sweet Potato in limited case leaving only mixed vegetable preparation and boiled Sweet Potato. Its limited use has indeed reflected in the popularity and very existence of Sweet Potato in the state.
“There was time, we had tried to exploit the trending Sweet Potato demands by growing in an acre of land but, experience of that particular crop was long drawn experience which I remember till date. That endeavor was totally flop due to the fact that half of the produce remained un-harvested in the field itself and whatever had been harvested had been subjected to harsh market condition.”
Reason of differential growth of Potato & Sweet Potato
These two types of potato i.e. modified stem are in fact not new to the state; they have arrived to the state fairly long time ago. Since then, both are making its existence only the difference being one is flourishing and other is floundering in their journey to the present state of condition.
These two crops, it is very much similar in many ways and dissimilar only in few accounts but still potato is prominent and promising and Sweet Potato is struggling. Details accounts of their similarities and dissimilarities are narrated below:-
• Both are adaptable to the soil & climatic condition of Tripura.
• Both are modified stem as per botanical terms.
• Both are suitable for loose, fertile and alluvial soil for successful growth.
• Both the crops are traditional with deep cultural value to the people of the state.
• Usable produce of Sweet Potato and Potato is modified stem.
• Both Sweet Potato and Potato can be cultivated through vegetative mode i.e. modified stem. Potato can also be cultivated through true potato seed (after fertilization of two parental lines) and similarly, Sweet Potato is cultivated through stem cuttings; in fact, it is the most preferred method of cultivation in the state.
• Both Sweet Potato and Potato are herbaceous plants but Sweet potato is vine.
• Cost of cultivation in case of Sweet Potato is a less compare to Potato, it is due to maximum saving in the seed materials i.e. stem cutting which could be easily and most profusely produced in cheap rates.
• One of the striking differences as it is indicative from the name itself is taste; Sweet Potato either fresh or processed tastes sweet which is not in case of potato.
Nutritive aspect of Sweet Potato:
Nutritionally, sweet potato (raw) is in good side as far as availability of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are concerned. Raw sweet potato contains 10(ten) different vitamins and 6(six) different minerals as per USDA National data base.
Reason of stagnation of Sweet Potato:
Both cases, if viewed in the users perspective then there is wide gap in field to fork; Potato has wide usage in different culinary preparation either solo or mixed and in addition, different other value added potato based products that is available in the market. These entire phenomenons have pushed the potato in positive tract of growth and popularity in the state and also country.
Whereas, Sweet Potato as indicated above has limited usability (at least in the state) and it disappointingly ends with simple mixed Sweet Potato recipe and boiled one, all these owe limitation to the Sweet Potato demands and popularity in the State.
Even in all India level, sweet potato production is very much minimum and restricted only in few states like Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Chhattishgarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Kerala and Rajasthan.
In the world, China is the major producers of sweet potato followed by Nigeria, Uganda, Indonesia, Vietnam, Tanzania, India and Japan according to Wikipedia 2009 update.
Sweet potato in other countries is making huge difference in terms of its different usage, popularity and demands; this is due to such acceptability owing to its value addition that it is making good demands to the people so is urge to produce more by the farmers of the respective country.
In the country like America, there is separate body or council to look after farmers associated with Sweet potato and sweet potato trade etc.
This is highly unlikely at the present scenario to make this sweet potato as popular as potato by show casing the different utility this sweet potato enjoys in other countries but people of the state should know the wide usability of sweet potato and its nutritive value which could one day come in rescue to the sweet potato for good grip in the mind of the people and the farming community.
Agritangkol dated 19.01.2012 at 4.00 P.M
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