Meet by All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Tuber Crops
Tuber crops such as tapioca, sweet potato and yam can serve as good alternatives to ensure food security. Their quality of starch is superior to that of rice. However, they need to be made more competitive so as to match the growth of other food crops, H.P. Singh, Deputy Director General (Horticulture), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, said here recently.
Inaugurating a three-day Annual Group Meeting of the All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Tuber Crops at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, he said if the qualities of tuber crops were highlighted among the public, it would lead to better acceptance.
“Also, if they were processed into ready-to-serve food items, their preference among consumers will increase. As temperature is one of the most important factors of climate change, scientists need to assess the threshold value of temperature that affects the size of the tubers in different regions. Elimination of virus and other diseases in tuber crops need greater attention,” Mr. Singh said.
He called for identifying core centres to pursue intensive research in specific tuber crops. TNAU was carrying out research on tapioca.
P. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice-Chancellor of TNAU, said tapioca produced in Tamil Nadu was utilised by sago and starch industries numbering more than 900. Demand for tapioca was on the rise and expected to touch 6.06 lakh tonnes in 2015.
The Vice-Chancellor mentioned that the university had developed an orange-fleshed sweet potato rich in beta carotene and could be used as a substitute for vitamin A. As this was highly suitable for children, TNAU had plans to recommend this to the Tamil Nadu Government for including it in the mid-day noon scheme. It was also developing a low-sugar sweet potato variety that could be consumed by diabetics.