Doaba farmers appeased with new potato seed Bill

Now they will be able to get certification, export seed

Doaba farmers appeased with new potato seed Bill

Members of the Jalandhar Potato Growers’ Association during a press conference in Jalandhar on Friday. Tribune Photo

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 23

While the Punjab farmers are sore over Farm Acts passed by the Centre, the potato farmers of Doaba region have a reason to go upbeat.

Once the Punjab Vidhan Sabha recently passed the Punjab Tissue Culture-based Seed Potato Bill, 2020, becomes an Act, the Doaba-based farmers will not just be able to multiply the potato seed using the rapid tissue culture and aeroponics techniques, but also will be able to get it certified and export it to the European countries.

Gurraj Singh Nijjer, president of the Jalandhar Potato Growers’ Association, said the Potato Act was last passed in 1961 and since then there had been many changes in production and cultivation techniques. “For the past four years, five modern plants multiplying potato seeds using the new biotechnological procedures had been set up in Punjab but none could export the seed as there was no system for validation or traceability of the products,” he said. The five plants include three private, one of the association and another of the horticulture department.

He added: “Now, we will have a proper certification regime after thorough traceability and pathological tests. There will be QR coding. Source of potato will be earmarked. We will be able to get our potato seed certified from the Seed Certification Authority, Punjab Agro and Horticulture department. The new system will also be relative cost effective as we will be able to have rapid multiplicity growing as many as 80-100 tubers out of single potato as against just four-five as in traditional procedure. The best part will be that the new potato will be disease and virus free and its saplings will be readied in an infection-free environment. Punjab needs 4 lakh metric ton quality seeds each year, which we cannot get through traditional methods of propagation”.

Pritpal Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the association, said: “We were a part of the draft committee of the Bill along with the scientists from ICAR, PAU and the horticulture department. The new Bill is completely as per our satisfaction and we are thankful to the state government for keeping us in loop all through the process.”

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