The Central Tuber Research Institute, based in Thiruvananthapuram, which introduced high-yielding Chinese yam from potato and elephant’s foot to farmers in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts last February, developed tailor-made fertilizer and micronutrient formulations for Chinese potato, a highly desirable flavor. after the tuberous variety in the southern districts.
The CTCRI, which has so far released 68 improved varieties and other tuber cultivation technologies to improve the productivity and profitability of major tuber crops grown across the country, has introduced the high-yielding Chinese potato. “Sree Dhara” and the elephant varieties Sree Padma and Gajendra yam plant to farmers in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts last February. While farmers can get up to 25 tons of Chinese potatoes per hectare, the yield of Sree Padma and Gajendra will be 40 tons per hectare.
Chinese potato cultivation is concentrated in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts and being a photosensitive crop, it is planted in October-November and harvested in January-March. These varieties fetch a remunerative price in the market because of their aroma, flavor and desirable shape of their tubers. In addition, these have a good “keeping quality” associated with resistance to pests and diseases.
In addition to the seed distribution, a team of scientists R. Muthuraj, Principal Scientist, and his colleagues T. Krishnakumar, D. Jaganathan and P. Prakash, facilitated technical and interactive sessions on tuber crops for farmers. Plant material for establishing seed villages and value-added tuber crop products were distributed to selected farmers. Demonstrations on the mini-set technique, nursery preparation and fertilizer application were also organized.
Now the fertilizers and micronutrients synthesized for these tubers have been distributed to farmers on Monday. Principal Scientist and Head, Plant Production Division, CTCRI. G. Byju and Dr Muthuraj and technicians visited the village of Kuthapanjan, one of the beneficiary hamlets, with the new products for demonstration on the farm.
Dr Muthuraj, who popularized the Chinese potato “Sree Dhara”, explained how to apply and other practices to follow. “Farmers are not following scientific recommendations for nutrients that seriously affect soil health. Therefore, they have been trained in the application of our fertilizer and micronutrients which play a vital role in increasing yield, ”said Dr Byju.
The new products are developed taking into account the nutritional needs of the crop as a state of fertility of native soils and, therefore, will increase the yield and quality of the products in addition to maintaining soil health. he adds.
CTCRI plans to demonstrate these products in many other adjacent villages as well in the near future, he said.