In bid to improve the seed quality and production quality of the seeds of potatoes, Punjab has tied knot with the Netherlands in developing centres for excellence of potato which would make the seeds more effective and do all sorts of research with ultra-modern techniques. Similarly for cotton cultivation a centre has been set up in Bathinda that aims to deal with problems faced by cotton producers in the state.
With all the ultra-modern techniques needed to research and develop potato seeds of the highest quality in the state, Punjab will in collaboration with the Netherlands set up a modern potato centre of excellence. The centre will be opened in Jalandhar’s Dhogri village.
The centre of excellence will be collaboration with The Netherlands, Shimla based central potato research institute and Punjab agricultural University located in Ludhiana. The area to be covered for this is 24 acres and the cost of setting up the ultra-modern facility has been estimated to be around 7.85 crores.
The potato production is about 2.2 million tonnes and around 87,000 hectares are under cultivation. Punjab donates towards almost 75% of the total seed demand from the country.
In the advisory board of the centre would consist of Programma Uitzending Managers’ (PUM) Netherlands senior experts, the state horticulture mission, agriculture department of the embassy of Netherlands and Punjab knowledge partners. Members of the Dutch potato centre are also involved.
It would focus on tissue culture, net houses, cold storage, laboratory for routine tests, drip fustigation, solar pumps, planting machine along grading and packing equipments as was said by an official. The scientist would use the ultra-modern techniques to increase the shelf life of the potatoes. The seeds as they said would be prepared in a mini tuber, which would be germinated in a net house.
Setting up this kind of a potato centre will enable the growth of potatoes and will also help the farmers develop their knowledge of the growing potatoes. It is certain of increasing the productivity of the potatoes. The people working at the centre will also make it a point of working towards virus free and certified potato seed.
The farmers of the state will benefit from the centre that has been set up in collaboration with the Dutch as new techniques of growing a virus free and better product is all that is needed. Training will also be given to farmers and advanced hybrid seeds will be produced.
The growth of cotton in Punjab is also something that the government feels the need to increase. The government in 2015 targeted 5.30 lakh hectares under cotton cultivation in comparison to the yesteryear’s lakh hectares.
The centre which has been set up in Bathinda aims at reducing the input cost of producing cotton. This is to be done by tackling the problem of expensive labour.
Production of cotton might be on a rise with the developments made in the institution. To enhance the packing process of cotton packing machines will also be set up.