BHUBANESWAR: Even as the task force on potato is giving final shape to its report, the Horticulture Department has taken a series of measures to encourage farmers to take up tuber cultivation.
After announcing 50 per cent input subsidy to the farmers, the department has requested the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS) to issue instructions to cooperative credit lending organisations including Central Cooperative Banks (CCBs) and Odisha State Cooperative Bank (OSCB) for sanctioning loans to the farmers.
Estimating the cost of potato cultivation at Rs 1.28 lakh per hectare, Director of Horticulture SK Chadha said the cost of seed materials alone is Rs 60,000.
About 20 quintals of seed would be required for planting on a hectare of land.
The total material component cost for potato cultivation over a hectare of land is about Rs 80,000.
The balance cost is towards manure, chemical fertilizer, irrigation and seed treating chemicals.
The State Government has decided to provide Rs 40,000 subsidy on the material components under the potato incentivisation programme.
“Since majority of farmers are small and marginal level and have very low purchasing capacity, they are not inclined to take up potato cultivation,” Chadha said.
Meanwhile, 11 truck loads (each carrying 250 quintals) of potato seeds have been dispatched to different district centres for supply to the farmers.
The Odisha Agro-Industries Corporation (OAIC), Odisha State Cashew Development Corporation (OSCDC) and three outside agencies are the designated agencies to supply tissue cultured potato seeds to the farmers under the incentivisation programme.
Besides, farmers who will purchase seeds from certified agencies will be paid subsidy on production of bill.
The department has opened a control room here to assist in smooth distribution of potato seeds to the farmers.
Three officers - Joint Director RC Das, Deputy Director DP Sarangi and Assistant Horticulture Officer SR Das - will assist from the control room.
The State Government recently directed OAIC and OSCDC to supply potato seeds at Rs 3,212 per quintal following allegations that some officers of the two agencies were trying to sell seeds at a price much higher than the rate fixed by the State Level Seed Pricing Committee.
The State Government decided to procure and supply 42,000 quintals of tissue cultured seed potato to the farmers during kharif and rabi seasons at a cost of Rs 3,212 per quintal.