Odisha government announced potato mission from next year

The Odisha government would launch a massive drive, state potato mission, from next year to increase production of the tuber. The agriculture department would be the nodal agency.

Presiding over the meeting, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the Potato Task Force report submitted to the government earlier. The panel was constituted to come up with a long-term action plan to deal with intermittent potato crisis in the state.

The state has been facing a shortfall in potato, because its domestic production does not meet the demand.

At present, the state produces two lakh metric tonnes as against the requirement of 11 lakh metric tonnes. Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy had admitted that the state depended on the supply of potato from other states, mostly from Bengal.

The state faced a severe potato shortage when Bengal government restricted its supply to Odisha and other states this year and previous year. At that time, potato was selling at Rs 60 per kg in retail market.

Keeping this in view, the government decided to keep a buffer stock of 30,000 tonnes of tuber in 2015 to meet the emergency.

Besides, the state government has set a target to increase area under potato cultivation to 60,000 hectares by 2017-18 against the present production over 15,000 hectares.

While the present production of potato is 2 lakh tonne, the government aims to increase it to 11.25 lakh tonne by 2017-18, said an official of agriculture department.

Similarly, it has decided to increase the potato seed production to 1.20 lakh tonne. The government also decided to build 122 cold storages by 2017-18. The state presently has 24 cold storages.

The government will extend crop insurance coverage to all blocks of the state by spending Rs. 583.58 crore in next six years. Rs. 300 crore will be allocated for the crop insurance under state plan.

During the meeting, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Das Burma, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy, Chief Secretary G C Pati and other senior officials were present.

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