Adopt Demand Driven and Clustered Farming.....Potato can Play an Important Role in Food Security

New Delhi, 08 July, 2010

‘India can become a food factory for world. All we needed is to adopt a demand driven and clustered farming’ said Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister for Food Processing Industries, Government of India. He was inaugurating the 2nd India International Potato Expo-2010 organized with the technical cooperation of The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at National Agriculture Science Complex, Pusa, New Delhi.

Inaugurating the Expo as chief guest, Mr. Sahai emphasized on more productivity and economic sustainability for farmers. Total approach in terms of focused planning should be adopted to get these goals, he said.

In his special address, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Member of Rajya Sabha and Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Foundation said that Potato is poised to play an important role for burgeoning Indian and global population for food security. According to Prof. Swaminathan there are two immediate challenges for potato farming- quality potato seed in changed climate conditions and processing and nutritive quality of potato.

Potato can play a vital role in feeding the world’s population which is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Almost 320 million tones of potato are grown to eat every year, making it the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat. Today, India ranks as the world’s largest potato producing nation.

Dr. Mangala Rai, President, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences reiterated that India has more than 40 varieties due to which Indian farmer can harvest potato round the year. Effective planning, marketing strategies and cold chain will be needed.
Dr. Swapan K. Dutta, Deputy Director General, Crop Sciences, ICAR highlighted the role of potato as food crop and emphasized the need to develop temperature consistent varieties.

Foreign buyers from six countries and farmers from 11 states are participating in this Expo. Concurrently an exhibition is also organized with more than 6o stalls of different agro-industries, State Governments and other stakeholders. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research displayed relevant products and services.

(Source: NAIP sub project on Mass Media Mobilization, DIPA)