BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State Potato Mission failed to take off due to the lack of direction and apathy of the government to the project, it has expressed it desire to revalidate the contract with the International Potato Centre (CIP) for intensification of potato production.
The state government has written to the Asia Regional Director, CIP, Vietnam office, for extension of memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed last year for one more year for successful implementation of the project.
"The dateline of the agreement for sustainable intensification of potato cultivation in order to achieve self-sufficiency in production in Odisha was made with validity for a period of one year with effect from September 1, 2019. The project work is affected in the face of COVID-19 pandemic situation and other associated issues," said a letter from Horticulture director.
Noting that the project may take time to reach the logical end, the horticulture directorate requested for extension of MoA.
In the collaborative project CIP will provide technical support, including the introduction of early-maturing resilient potato varieties and improved agronomic practices, to improve the income of smallholder farmers and generate employment along the potato supply chain.
The State is able to meet 15 to 20 percent of its requirement due to high seed costs, inadequate storage, poor market linkage and significant price fluctuations. Potato cultivation has dropped massively in recent years due to lack of infrastructure and marketing support.