Wide scope for potato seed exports to Pak from Punjab

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Chandigarh, Nov 28 (UNI) Punjab is ideally located to supply high quality seed potato to Pakistan which imports the seed largely from the Netherlands at a very high cost.

Due to the efforts of the Confederation of Potato Seed Farmers of Punjab, the Pakistan authorioties have registered three Indian potato seed varities--Kufri Badshah, Kufri Pukhraj and Kufri Bahar.

Efforts are on by the Seed Farmers to get the other seed varities grown in Punjab registered in Pakistan.

There is a comparative price advantage, for the same quality of seed potato sourced from Europe, Indian Punjab can supply seed potato upto 100 US dollars per tonne cheaper, Confederation of Potato Seed Farmers, President Sukhjit Singh Bhatti stated while addressing an interactive session at the International Conference on Development, Peace and Security in South Asia organised at the Centre of Rural Research and Industrial Development here today.

At the session in which a number of farmers from Pakistan were present, Mr Bhatti pointed to strong broad based potato breeding programme which was launched in mid-fifties and consequent to the same more than 40 varieties have been evolved and released in India for different agro climatic zones.

As on date, a complete range of varieties early, medium and late and processing types are available in Punjab which is the closest potato seed centre to Pakistan.

Prominent amongst the varities are (Kufri) Pukhraj, Chandermukhi, Badshah, Bahar, Pushkar, Lavkar, Jyoti, Chipsona 1,2 and 3, Surya.

Mr Bhatti himself a progressive farmer of Jalandhar pointed out that since potato in Europe was grown during summer, the potato seed imported from Europe (Netherlands) by Pakistan did not have optimal physiological stage for planting under Indian conditions where about 85 per cent potato is grown under winter conditions. As a result of extensive surveys in early sixties, an aphid free period was identified in Punjab state which led to the development of "seed plot technique", he added while pointing out that this technique essentially refers to production of quality seed under disease free conditions.

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