High-yielding cassava, Chinese potato introduced to farmers

The Thiruvananthapuram-based Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) has demonstrated the capacity of new high-yielding and pest-resistant variety of cassava and Chinese potato (Sirukizhangu) by planting these varieties in two villages in the district.

While ‘Sree Reksha’ cassava variety was planted in the ranches of five farmers from Kanakkupillaivalasai, the Chinese potato’s efficacy was proved in the fields of eight farmers of Kuththapaanjaan. Both the experiments have demonstrated the high-yielding capacity of these two new varieties and a good number of farmers have opted to cultivate these tubers in their farms.

According to G. Byju, Principal Scientist and Head, Department of Crop Production, CTCRI, Thiruvananthapuram, the new variety of cassava gives the yield of 45 tonnes per hectare with very good ‘keeping quality’ and has resistance to cassava mosaic disease.

“With overwhelming response from the farmers, the planting materials of ‘Sree Reksha’ and customized fertilizers were distributed to ten farmers at Thaenpoththai on Tuesday for establishing seeds of this high-yielding variety which will certainly increase considerably their income,” Mr. Byju said.

Chinese potato is another commercially grown crop in Tenkasi district with most of the farmers in Kadayam Union going in for this crop, for which demand would be high round-the-year. Planting materials of improved variety released from CTCRI, ‘Sree Dhara’ were supplied and demonstrated at Kuththapaanjaan wherein eight farmers raised this crop on their fields.

“This variety gave 50% higher yield than the local variety when we planted it in the demonstration fields. The huge size, shape and good keeping quality of the tubers fetched good price in the market, the farmers say. The variety is being expanded to nearby villages and blocks covering an area of 300 acres through seed entrepreneurs since 2017 with the guidance of Indian Council of Agriculture and Research – CTCRI and Department of Horticulture, Tenkasi,” said R. Muthuraj, Principal Scientist, CTCRI, Thiruvananthapuram.

During their visit to the fields at Kuththapaanjaan village on Tuesday to formulate the action plan for strengthening the tuber crops development in the district, the scientists received positive feedback from the growers.

Dr. Byju, who presided over the interaction, emphasized that new variety, good quality planting materials, scientific cultivation, post-harvest processing and marketing techniques prescribed by the scientists should be strictly followed for making significant profits in their venture.

Dr. Muthuraj sand Dr. D. Jaganathan, Senior Scientist, CTCRI, handled the sessions on scientific cultivation of tuber crops.

Critical inputs and agricultural implements were also distributed to the farmers during the interface and field visits. Assistant Director of Horticulture, Tenkasi, Ramachandran, explained in detail various schemes being executed for horticultural crop growers.

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