Agri Business

Time for new policy for potato sub-sector: PM

Our Bureau Gandhinagar | Updated on January 28, 2020 Published on January 28, 2020

Addresses Global Potato Conclave: Gujarat has shown the way with policy initiatives to multiply potato cultivation

In a bid to achieve a larger goal of hunger and poverty eradication, the government wants to consider new policy with specific research agenda to promote potato sub-sector, which includes seeds to market value-chain.

In his video address to the three-day 3rd Global Potato Conclave at Mahatma Mandir here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that considering the utility of potato crop in a variety of food products, “it is time we encouraged potato sub-sector with the new policy and a research agenda. At the root of this policy and research agenda should be the fight against hunger and poverty with a goal to secure global food security.”

Modern technology

The Prime Minister also stated that scientists need to be encouraged to use modern technology such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and drone technology among others for various issues faced in agriculture.

The earlier two editions of Global Potato Conclaves were held in Delhi in 1999 and 2008. Underlining the significance of the 2020 Conclave being held in Gujarat, the Prime Minister stated that while the area under potato cultivation increased by about 20 per cent in India in the last 11 years, it has increased by about 170 per cent in Gujarat during the same period.

“This is largely owing to the policy initiatives and decisions which lead to the State using modern methods of agriculture such as sprinkler and drip irrigation for cultivation, along with the best cold storage facilities and linkages to the food processing Industry,” he stated.

Modi said the government was striving to double the farmers’ income by 2022. “It is a target you are all capable of achieving. It is because of the combined efforts of the farmers and the government that India now ranks among top three nations in production of grains and other food items,” he said.

‘Vital food item’

During the inaugural session on Tuesday, the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, stated that though potato isn’t native to India and is believed to have originated in the Andes Mountains in South America, it is present in every household of India.

“Therefore, just like other prominent crops of our country such as wheat and rice, potato assumes equal importance in the agriculture,” he said, adding that potato cultivation in India is growing rapidly from 34.7 million tonnes reported in 2008 to 52.5 million tonnes now, with an area under potato cultivation at 21.8 lakh hectares covering about 4 million farmer families associated with it.

Tomar added that in the past one decade, 53 per cent rise was seen in potato cultivation, and “we expect it to grow at 3 per cent every year till 2050, so it would be 150 per cent growth till 2050 is what we estimate today.”

“In past seven decades, we have seen 34 times growth in potato production, and 9.3 times growth in acreage, and 3.7 times growth in yield,” he added.

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Published on January 28, 2020
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