Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has entered into an agreement with Shimla-based Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) to intensify research on potato improvement in the state.
With the agreement, PAU aims at strengthening research work on potato, which is a predominant vegetable crop of Punjab, PAU Vice Chancellor B S Dhillon said.
This collaboration will facilitate the flow of germplasm, including new varieties/advance hybrids to PAU, he added. PAU Director Research S S Gosal that since PAU has its regional research stations in different agro-climatic zones of the state, the germplasm lines and varieties/advance hybrids of potato will be evaluated at different locations, under this MoU, so as to find out the most promising ones that are suitable for cultivation in Punjab. The University will also get one voluntary ICAR centre on potato, he said.
"Recently, PAU has been associated as a research and knowledge partner with the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands, for the Indo-Dutch Centre of Excellence for Potato, which is to be set-up shortly in Punjab with the objective of developing state of art production and storage technologies for potato growers of the state," Gosal said.
University will also join hands with CPRI in the development of new varieties of potato which will be released jointly by the two institutes.
To begin with, the CPRI has supplied some potato varieties and advance breeding lines for evaluation at PAU, he said. PAU has also been sanctioned a project by the state government (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna) to work on dehaulming dates for potato crop grown in different agro-climatic zones of the state, to ensure production of virus free seed potato.
This will facilitate export of disease free potato seed to neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Middle-East, a PAU official said.
A project on identification of pest free areas for brown rot and ring rot of potato, funded by National Horticulture Mission, is underway at PAU which will facilitate export of fresh potatoes to European Union.
Recently, the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has also sanctioned a project to PAU for undertaking research on processing of potato into flakes and flour, and to develop low-cost technology for commercial application by small- scale entrepreneur.