The International Potato Center (CIP) will introduce its novel low-cost technology, called apical rooted cutting, to develop the potato seed value chain in Nagaland to improve productivity and supply high-quality potato seeds to the farmers at an affordable price.

The potato seeds developed through the new technology can also be exported to the neighbouring states, the CIP Asia Regional Director Dr. Samarendu Mohanty, based in Manila, Philippines, said.

He said at a meeting with Nagaland agriculture production commissioner and mission director, FOCUS-Nagaland (Fostering Climate Resilient Upland Farming Systems-Nagaland), Y Kikheto Sema, and senior officers of the agriculture and horticulture departments in Kohima on Friday.

A three-member CIP team, led by Mohanty arrived in the state on Thursday.

Other members of the team are Project Coordinator for India, Philippines and Vietnam Dr. Sampriti Baruah, and Senior Consultant Dr. Mohinder Singh.

Their visit follows 19 days after the discussion held with the state government officials, led by Sema, in New Delhi on October 9 regarding the proposal for a low-cost potato seed production system for improved livelihoods for farmers of Nagaland.

Appreciating the initiatives taken by the state government, Mohanty said the CIP will also work towards the introduction of new short duration, early bulking, climate-resilient and disease-resistant potato varieties responding to consumer and market demands for table and processing purposes.

He noted that Nagaland has a favourable agro-climatic condition to have at least two growing seasons per year which presents an untapped opportunity to transform the state into a seed production hub for the supply of quality potato seed to other states.

After their arrival on Thursday, the team visited the tissue culture laboratories and infrastructure facilities of agriculture and horticulture departments at Agri Expo Dimapur.

Sema said there is a huge demand for potato seeds in the state both during kharif and rabi seasons.

He added that most of the farmers of the state cannot afford quality potato seeds from mainland India and thus buy the unsold potatoes from the grocery shops which give poor yield.

He said the FOCUS-Nagaland has proposed to the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) of the United Nations to fund the project for potato seed production which will not only increase the farmers’ income but also generate employment among the educated youths of the state.

He added that the IFAD is willing to sponsor the project.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com