Seed-potato farming using tissue culture gains popularity in N-districts
By Dr Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, Bangladesh, Feb 20 (BSS)- The farming of foundation seed of potato through using tissue culture technology has been gaining popularity everywhere in the northern region for the last couple of years.
Farmers said, the private entrepreneurs are showing interest to boost the mother potato-seed production locally after using the modern technology side by side the government institutions.
Apart from this, the potato growers are also showing their interest in cultivating potato through using the foundation seed as they have been reaping more yields.
Joint Director of Horticulture Improvement Center under Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) Sarder Salah Uddin said, the existing crisis of breeder potato-seed could be solved easily through successful expansion of tissue culture technology at the grassroots.
He said, there has been a bright prospect of enhancing the production of breeder seed through best uses of the innovated technology and the farmers have a vital role to make the prospect into realistic.
He said, BADC has undertaken a programme for producing 25,000 metric tons of seed-potato through applying tissue culture technology by 2012 in the country. To make the effort a complete success, two more tissue culture laboratories would be set up.
The Bengal Seeds Company Limited has undertaken a program for producing 948 metric tons of different category seed potato through applying tissue culture technology during the current season and the plants are growing well.
Professor Dr Monzur Hossain of Botany Department of Rajshahi University said, “We have started developing technology of the tissue culture method in 1987 and innovated the method of producing tissue culture potato-seed”.
Since then, he said we are disseminating the developed technology among both the private and public level seed producing farms significantly.
In addition to comparatively higher production and hygienic, the tissue culture seed is 100 percent virus and disease free, healthy, high quality and along with environment-friendly, Dr Monzur said.
Depicting the salient features of the technology, he mentioned that potato production could be enhanced at least 50 percent more on the existing acreage if only the quality seed are ensured among the growers.
He said, since the qualitative and quantitative production completely depends on quality seed, therefore importance should be given on encouraging the farmers on the best uses of the developed technology to enhance the quality seed production side by side with the state level efforts.
Monzur said, the BADC has been supplying only 12,000 metric tons of quality seed-potato among the farmers as a whole against the annual demand of six lakh metric tons at present.
To meet-up the local demands, the nation has to depend on import from abroad through spending huge hard-earned foreign currencies. “We can reduce dependence on import enhancing domestic production through proper and best uses of the modern technologies in the farming,” he said adding that the tissue culture is one of the potential and proven technologies.
“Field level officials and employees concerned have a vital role in making this effort a total success”, he said adding that there is no alternative to increase local production.
Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Rajshahi Braja Haridas said, the private entrepreneurs and farmers have been showing their keen interest in producing the potato-seed after using the tissue culture technology.
He, however, said due importance should be given on more production of the seed along with easy availability among the farmers and urged the successful farmers to disseminate their acquired knowledge among the fellow farmers.
The DAE has set a target of producing 58,99,250 metric tons of potato from 3,37,100 hectares of land in 16 districts of Rajshahi division during the current harvesting season.
The early variety potato has already appeared in plenty in the local markets as farmers cultivated those much ahead than that of the traditional periods in the region this year, sources said.