Punjab is all geared up to set a most ultra modern Potato Centre of Excellence with an outlay of Rs 785 lakh at village Dhogri of Jalandhar district, which would become epicenter of this natural potato seed production region.
This centre would be developed under the aegis Indo-Dutch joint agriculture work group with a focus on quality seed potato, suitable farm mechanization and proper disease management technologies etc. This centre would be constructed at a cost of Rs. 785 lakh on 23.5 hectare, where tissue culture facility, agronomics facility, net houses, cold store, laboratory for routine tests, drip fustigation, solar pumps, planting machines along grading and packing equipments besides training facilities would also be available.
The centre would have advisory body of Programma Uitzending Managers’ (PUM) Netherlands senior experts with active involvement of state horticulture mission, agriculture department of the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Dutch, National and Punjab knowledge partners and Members of Dutch Potato Centre.
Disclosing this here an official spokesman of Agriculture Department said this institution would showcase the added value of mechanism and improved cultural and management practices. He said latest technology Agronomics will be used to meet the emerging need of virus free and certified seed potato. He said this centre would also come with techniques of post harvest handling and storage with latest storage and monitoring systems to improve shelf life of the produce for different ends. He said the trained task force will help the farmers as per standardized Dutch technology by the stakeholders in the potato chain.
The spokesman said with the adoption of proposed technologies the potatoes would be keep away from various 16 kinds of viruses. This exercise would enhance the shelf life of different varieties. He said that the seed would be produced in air instead of soil by making Mini-tuber, which would be further germinated and hardened in net house. The sowing of disease free potato has been completed and it would give results in 6 months.
In the meanwhile, taking a major pace towards National Horticulture Mission, Punjab has decided to set up the unit to production of strawberries with quality high strawberries seed of world class technique.
It is learnt that the Punjab government said that Punjab horticulture department has planned out a comprehensive chart to setup strawberry seed plant with new technique. The purpose of setting up this strawberry plant was to harness the potential of the area specific crops to reduce the area under cultivation of paddy and wheat, as this rotation was posing a major threat to the fertility of land in our agri-based state.
Uvie Kahai, 45, Strawberry Grower, where he cultivates strawberries in 70 acres, at Chandigarh. A first generation farmer looks towards the sprawling green fields in front of him. He said that it all started in the early 1990s when an American team visited Punjab looking for farmers willing to diversify and grow strawberries. He also grows and supplies purple potatoes to five-star hotels in the region, feels that unless the high risk factor is obliterated from farming, a large number of youngsters born in agricultural families will keep opting for other professions.
The Punjab Government has also taken a step forward towards National Horticulture Mission as the state has decided to boost up the unit to production of exotic vegetables with high quality seeds of world class method. Disclosing this an official spokesperson of the Punjab Government said that Punjab horticulture department has designed out a broad map to setup exotic vegetation with recent method. The centre for vegetation has opened with such facilities across the country under the Israel-India collaboration.