Shimla, Aug 22 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalraj Mishra on Thursday stressed the need to undertake intensive scientific research work on potato so that more and more farmers could be encouraged for its cultivation.
He was speaking at a function organised here by the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) on the occasion of its 71st foundation day.
He said during its journey of last seven decades, the CPRI has contributed immensely in the field of potato research.
Himachal Pradesh has suitable climatic conditions for potato cultivation and the farmers of the state have been engaged in its cultivation since last about 150 years.
However, with technological advancements and researches, the potato is also being grown on a large scale in other parts of the country and the credit for it went to the CPRI.
The Governor expressed satisfaction over the fact that potato was being cultivated in about 14,000 hectares in the state with the total production about two lakh tonnes.
The Himachali potato is considered for its quality and fetches good income to the farmers.
Mishra congratulated the scientists for developing disease-resistant varieties of potato like Kufri Himalini, Kufri Girdhari and Kufri Karan and efforts for developing environmental friendly integrated disease and pest control methods.
He said the institute was also making commendable efforts for conserving the physical wealth of species and it was moving forward to get 20 patents.
He applauded the CPRI for its research work and developing techniques for which India today raked second in the list of world’s leading potato producing countries after China.
He underlined the need to tackle new challenges in taking Indian potato to new heights, to balance the fluctuations in production, increasing the potato processing by more than more per cent, taking potato exports beyond one per cent and reducing the post harvest losses by 16 per cent.
The Governor advised to identify special potato growing zones and setting up and promoting import-export areas, exploring the potato market within and outside the country and promoting the use of market intelligence and other information technologies to interconnect them.