Madurai

Scientists develop customized fertilizer, micronutrients for Chinese potato

The Thiruvananthapuram-based Central Tuber Crops Research Institute that introduced high-yielding Chinese potato and elephant foot yam to the farmers of Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts in last February, has developed tailor-made fertilizer and micronutrient formulations for Chinese potato, a tasty much sought-after tuber variety in the southern districts.

The CTCRI, which has so far released 68 improved varieties and other technologies of tuber crops for enhancing productivity and profitability in major tuber crops being cultivated across the country, introduced high-yielding ‘Sree Dhara’ Chinese potato and Sree Padma and Gajendra varieties of elephant foot yam to the farmers of Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts in last February. While the farmers can get yield of up to 25 tonnes of Chinese potato a hectare, the yield of Sree Padma and Gajendra will be 40 tonnes a hectare.

Cultivation of Chinese potato is concentrated in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts and being a photosensitive crop, it is planted during October - November and harvested during January-March. These varieties fetch remunerative price in the market because of its aroma, flavour and desirable shape of the tubers. Moreover, these have got good ‘keeping quality’ coupled with pest and disease resistance.

Apart from distributing seeds, a team of scientists R. Muthuraj, Principal Scientist, and his colleagues T. Krishnakumar, D. Jaganathan and P. Prakash, handled technical and interactive sessions on tuber crops for the farmers. Planting materials for establishing seed villages and value-added products of tuber crops were distributed to the selected farmers and farm women. Demonstrations on mini-set technique, nursery preparation and fertilizer application were also then organized.

Now, the fertilizers and the micronutrients synthesized for these tuber crops were distributed to the farmers on Monday. Principal Scientist and Head, Crop Production Division, CTCRI. G. Byju and Dr. Muthuraj and the technicians visited Kuthapanjan village, one of the beneficiary hamlets with the new products for on-farm demonstration.

Dr. Muthuraj, who has been popularizing ‘Sree Dhara’ Chinese potato, explained the mode of application and other practices to be followed. “Farmers do not follow scientific nutrient recommendations which seriously affect soil health. Hence, they were trained in applying our fertilizer and the micronutrients that play vital role in augmenting the yield”, said Dr. Byju.

The new products are developed considering the nutritional needs of the crop as indigenous soil fertility status and hence will increase yield and quality of produce besides sustaining soil health, he added.

CTCRI plans to demonstrate these products in many other adjacent villages also in near future, he said.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 1:44:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/potato/article37770469.ece

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