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Current Position:Home » News » Food Technology » Topic

Hi-tech production to fill demand for quality seed potatoes in India

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-07-04  Views: 9
Core Tip: The availability of quality planting material has always been a limitation in vegetatively propagated crops in India.
The availability of quality planting material has always been a limitation in vegetatively propagated crops in India. Potatoes, largely being a vegetatively propagated crop, is subjected to large number of seed-borne diseases responsible for yield degeneration. Hence, it is imperative to use good quality healthy seed for the sustainable and economic production of potatoes.

The conventional seed production technology based on “seed plot technique” has been successfully used in India for last five decades for quality potato seed production. It comprises of tuber indexing for all major viruses and clonal multiplication of virus free mother tubers in four cycles for breeder seed production.

The breeder seed produced by ICAR-CPRI is supplied to various State Government Organizations for further multiplication in three more cycles, viz. Foundation Seed 1 (FS-1), Foundation Seed 2 (FS-2) and Certified Seed (CS) under strict health standards. However, the current status of breeder seed multiplication by the State Governments is not as per the desired seed multiplication chain and breeder seed supplied by ICAR-CPRI is often being multiplied only up to FS-1 stage.

Therefore, there is a huge shortage of certified seed in the country. The incorporation of hi-tech seed production systems, coupled with advanced virus detection techniques is the only way out in fulfilling the huge demand for quality seed potatoes in the country. Keeping that in view, ICAR-CPRI, Shimla has standardized a number of high-tech seed production systems based on tissue culture and micropropagation technologies.

The adoption of those systems of seed production will improve the quality of breeder seed, enhance seed multiplication rates and reduce field exposure of seed crops by at least 2 years. The systems were thoroughly tested at the seed production farm of ICAR-CPRI before passing them on to farmers and other stakeholders.

The latest hi-tech seed production system, standardized by the institute, is based on the concept of soil-less, aeroponic technology. The aeroponic system of seed production has the potential to once again revolutionize the potato seed sector, about 50 years after the introduction of the “seed plot technique” by the institute.

The aeroponic system was perfected in 2011 and so far, it has been commercialized to 14 firms from different states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab and Haryana. Each firm is licensed to produce 10 lakhs of minitubers by the aeroponic system. Even if each firm is only operating at half of its potential, about 6.5 million minitubers are currently being produced by those firms.
 
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