A centre of the Shimla-based Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) will be set up in West Bengal's West Midnapur district to make quality potato seeds favourable to the state's climatic condition available to the farmers.
'A CPRI centre will come up in West Midnapore district and the Bidhan Chandra Krishi VishvaVidyalaya (Bidhan Chandra Agricultural University) has been given the task to develop the centre,' Agriculture Minister Naren De said on Tuesday (17).
He said more than fifty percent of the 7.5 lakh tonnes of potato seeds required in the state are imported from outside resulting in an increase of production costs.
The centre will produce potato seeds through tissue culture which will be disease-free and favourable to the climatic condition of state, he said.
'Our state is the second largest potato producer of the country. We produce around 80-85 lakh tonnes of potato of which 30 lakh tonnes is excess, so we need to use good variety of seed so that the excess potato can be easily exported and marketed in foreign countries,' he said.
The minister said he will consider the proposal of forming a Potato Board comprising all the stake holders, which will look into production, storage, marketing and export of the crop.
He also asked the farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers to keep the soil condition intact.