Meghalaya CM moot for scientific approach to produce quality potatoes
Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma with Agriculture Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma along with Agriculture Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on Wednesday inspected the ongoing potato seed production programme at Bio Resource Development Centre (BRDC) in Upper Shillong, an official release said.

“The project titled “Seed Secure Meghalaya: Establishment of low cost formal and informal potato seed production system to enhance food security and income generation” is a state government initiative that aims to increase potato seed production and cultivation in the state and market the high-yielding varieties of potato to markets across the Northeastern region and beyond,” a statement said.

The project is being implemented by International Potato Centre (CIP) in partnership with the Meghalaya Basin Management Authority, Department of Horticulture and Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla.

At BRDC, the official gave a presentation on the Apical Rooted Cutting (ARC) technique which is being used to produce potato seed through tissue culture plantlets.

The technique allows tissue culture plantlets to mature and produce mini tubers produced from the plantlets. Once rooted, the cuttings are transplanted into the field to produce seed tubers.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that the scientific method has been introduced to ensure that there are better yields and quality potatoes.

He said the Government is working closely with the farmers to demonstrate the difference between the old-generation and the new-generation potatoes through this pilot project.

He said the pilot project has been largely successful and the Government envisages introducing the technique on a large scale enabling potato farmers to double their income. “In Meghalaya itself, we have a shortage of potato supply, in terms of seed and the production of potatoes, this gap can be easily filled if we can work in a scientific manner and this (ARC) technique is a great living example of how the change is taking place,” he said.

He hoped that with the right intervention and technology, the production can be increased while also maintaining the quality of the potatoes. “We would like to encourage this method, so as to increase seed production and cultivation of potatoes in the State. We are hopeful that in the coming years, we can be the hub of seed production and export it beyond the State in neighbouring Northeast.”

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The Meghalaya CM also visited the Kyrdemkhla Integrated Village Cooperative Society (IVCS) in Upper Shillong and interacted with the farmers, who have adopted the technique and are upbeat with the results i.e. the yield of the potatoes.

Under the project, 150 farmers were given Kufri Jyoti and Himalini varieties, 500 farmers were trained on integrated seed health management and storage, two tissue culture labs with a capacity of 1 lakh tissue culture plants were set up and 15146 ha area mapped for potato production using GIS mapping.

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