Friday, 27 January 2012

Potato Cultivation though Tuberlets not True Potato Seeds! A Reality Check.

          On the other day while I was making a round in one vegetable market at Agartala, Tripura; one thing that clearly drawn my interest out of many available staff in the market is “Tuberlet” produced out of True Potato seed. 
         Of course I have come to know the fact on conversation with many potato farmers of the state (limited interview).
        Tuberlets, as secondary produce (presume) used to be there even in earlier days but the fact is this tuberlets some times even fetches even higher market price compare to normal sized potato and same is the trend even now-a-days.
         However, tuberlet availability is always minimum compare to the normal sized potato. This is due to the fact that they are secondary produce in the sense that this tuberlets are part of the whole lot of a plant but did not get sufficient time to attain the full form or nutrient for achieving its normal size before being harvested.
         Or these are sorted out of whole lot at the time of harvest of potato which is quite normal everywhere.
          At present, market seems to be full of Potato tuberlets produced out of True Potato Seed; this is evident due to the fact that color of the tuberlet skin is reddish.
         It is said that colour of the skin of true potato produced out of true potato seed is reddish. In case of other varieties, color of the tuberlet is pale or light red at maximum.
          This tuberlet do not make any sense as far as profitability of potato grower is concerned, it is due to the fact that these tuberlets were produced out of maneuver of farmer intended to produce sizeable potato but unfortunately ends with tuberlets. This results in loss of farmer for being producing less quantity of in a potato in an unit area.
         Now, if we look into the whole aspect of potato cultivation through true potato seed then we find many crucial steps that come into picture.
         In my earlier post titled “True Potato Seed, a long journey ahead” I did mention some steps for potato cultivation through true Potato Seed. In that post, I have also mentioned two critical steps for potato cultivation through True Potato Seed but one critical / Step did not find mention in that post that is in fact making whole difference to the farmers in adoption of True Potato Seed.
         It has been flouted that potato cultivation through True Potato seed can reduce the total cost of cultivation of potato in significant level but the very phrase of “Potato cultivation through True Potato Seed” did not match in actual field level due to the fact that it is not the direct True Potato Seed to marketable sized potato; in between marketable sized potato and True Potato Seeds, there is tuberlet which is making a whole difference in potato cultivation through True Potato Seed.
          The phrase may should instead be appropriate as “Potato cultivation through Tuberlets” that can minimize the total cost of cultivation of Potato due to the fact that farmer can have multiple Tuberlets in a kilogram of seed material compare to normal sized potato seed material. This seed material (Tuberlets) can be grown separately using true potato seed for meeting the seed material requirement.
           From the own version of Potato farmer; “True Potato Seed although helps in some ways or others but involves many sensitive critical operation which indeed are difficult to perform by ordinary farmer having less farm logistics and inventories”
          “They take up True Potato Seedling for fulfilling the seed material requirement for next season; they keep those tuberlets in local cold storage up to the period of next season of potato cultivation. This is due to the fact that getting the marketable sized potato from the plants grown out of True Potato Seed is difficult in first season”.
            Another aspect, potato farmer express is; “duration of potato crop, out of True Potato Seed is comparatively more than Jyoti which is popular in the region. And, shape of the potato produced out of True Potato Seed is of not nice looking compare to the Jyoti etc”.
            Well, shape does not matter as long as the production is optimum or otherwise in satisfactory level now, the main question is; how to minimize all these procedures to be more farmers friendly?
           At present the steps for potato cultivation through true potato seed are as follows:-
         1st Phase: - Raising of seedling in seed bed
         2nd Phase:-Transplantation seedling in main field
         3rd Phase:-Harvesting of tuberlets
         But, in reality, another step also involves in the process of potato cultivation through True Potato Seed:-
       1st Phase:-Raising of Seedling in seed bed using true potato seeds
       2nd Phase:-Transplantation of seedling in main field
       3rd Phase:-Harvesting of tuberlets
       4th Phase:-storage of seed materials (tuberlets) in cold storage for next season
       5th Phase: - cultivation of potato using tuberlets
       Now, the first two steps that is; raising of seedling and transplantation in main field are basic part of the field operation but waiting for another year for using of tuberlets for use in main field for cultivation of potato is matter of wary.
       Well, many argues that farmer can raise True Potato Seeds Seedling nursery in the small plot of land for the objective to produce tuberlets for next year’s seed material requirement and in similar fashion both main field cultivation through last year’s preserved Tuberlets and for next year; True Potato Seed nursery vis-à-vis.
         That means, in any given season; farmers would be simultaneously using both True Potato Seed and Tuberlets for nursery and main field for present and next year’s requirement.
          All those processes or procedures although seems to be easy and can be maneuvered but, they are very much antagonistic for acting against the interest of the farmer.
         These are the factors which are acting against very adoption of True Potato Seed in the state. The scientist should be working on these steps for minimizing all these procedures for effective adoption by the farming communities.
     Agritangkol dated 25.01.2012 at 6.25 P.M

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