Koraput: The Odisha government had launched the ‘Potato Mission’ programme in 2015. This was done with the aim of removing dependency upon tuber from other states and also to achieve self-sufficiency. However, despite close to a decade elapsing after the launch of the programme, Odisha still has to depend on other states for potatoes.
The only probable exception to the rule is the farmers of Koraput district. They are producing enough potatoes, not only for people in the district but also for other parts of Odisha.
District agriculture officer Sudam Charan Biswal said Friday that the department had set a target of cultivating potatoes on 4,000 hectares of land this year. He added that potato cultivation has been successful on 3,790 hectares which is approximately 93% of the land allotted.
Earlier, farmers used to cultivate only paddy, millets and ginger on farmlands. However, now they have found potato cultivation productive and profitable, informed Biswal. He added that with the assistance provided by the Odisha government and voluntary outfit, Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD), farmers are earning enough by cultivating potatoes.
This year potato cultivation has been undertaken in Dasmantpur, Nandapur, Semiliguda and Pottangi blocks in Koraput district. While cultivation of tuber has been lukewarm in other parts of Odisha, more and more farmers are veering towards it in Koraput district, local officials said.
Principal Secretary of Agriculture Department Dr Arabinda Kumar Padhee recently visited the district. He expressed happiness over the increasing potato production. Accompanied by Agriculture and Horticulture department officials, Padhee visited Podagad, Pattamaliguda and other areas in Dasmantpur block and expressed happiness at the way potato is being cultivated.
CYSD in assistance with the Horticulture department has cultivated potato on 410 acres of land in six panchayats involving 320 farmers, officials stated Friday.
This year there were apprehensions that potato cultivation may not be profitable because of scanty rainfall. However, now farmers are happy as in the last couple of weeks there has been sufficient rainfall for the crop to blossom.
Currently, flowers are appearing on the tuber plants and farmer Lambodar Khara of Purimunda village in Podagad panchayat said that they are expecting substantial profits. He said that he cultivated potato on two acres and added that farmers are expecting 25-30 quintals from each acre of land.
CYSD coordinator Ananda Mallick said this year tuber cultivation will be quite successful and will attract more and more farmers in the coming seasons.