India: Pilot project on cold-store-centric potato cultivation put on hold in Odisha
OCSA president Janardan Sahoo said that arranging about Rs 52 lakh for the programme was not a tough job for the Agriculture department which has sufficient funds for the area expansion programme.
BHUBANESWAR: The proposed area expansion programme of potatoes in the catchment of functional cold storages on a pilot basis beginning rabi 2023 has been put on hold by the Directorate of Horticulture. The horticulture directorate has intimated to the Odisha Cold Storage Association (OCSA), which has been selected to pilot the scheme, that it would not be possible to arrange funds and other logistic support for the programme as rabi potato cultivation has already started in the state.
After a meeting with members of OCSA on October 27, the Agriculture department sought a proposal from the association for piloting the area expansion programme in the catchment of functional cold storages in one block each of Balasore, Cuttack and Jajpur districts during this Rabi season.
In its proposal to the government, the association suggested taking up area expansion of potatoes in a phased manner spanning over a period of five years covering 400 hectare in six blocks of Cuttack district in the first year. While the total cost of the programme for five years was Rs 24.94 crore, the estimated cost for the first year was Rs 51.54 lakh.
“We had suggested the government implement the scheme in a phased manner and expand the area from 400 hectare to 18,000 hectare over a period of five years starting 2023-24 as the base year. Our other suggestion was that the association will be the nodal agency for the supply of input materials (seeds and fertilisers) and all subsidies under the programme should be routed through it,” OCSA president Janardan Sahoo told The New Indian Express.
Sahoo said arranging about Rs 52 lakh for the programme was not a tough job for the Agriculture department which has sufficient funds for an area expansion programme. Perhaps, the department is not willing to give the freedom to the association for supply of input materials, he added.
He further informed that the government has fixed the cost of certified potato seed at Rs 31.41 per kg while high-quality seed from Punjab and other states are available at Rs 15-20/kg in open markets. However, the farmers are forced to buy costly seeds.