Governor Kalraj Mishra has stressed the need to undertake intensive scientific research work on potato so that more and more farmers could be encouraged for its cultivation and making it a major source of their livelihood. He was speaking during a function organized here today by the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) on the occasion of its 71st Foundation Day.While congratulating the members of the Institute, he said that during its journey of last seven decades, the CPRI has contributed immensely in the field of potato research. Himachal Pradesh has suitable climatic conditions for potato cultivation and the farmers of the state have been engaged in its cultivation since last about 150 years. However, with technological advancements and researches, the potato is also being grown on a large scale in other parts of the country as well and the much credit for it goes to the CPRI.The Governor expressed satisfaction over the fact that potato was being cultivated in about 14000 hectares area in the State with total production about two lakh tonnes. The Himachali potato is considered for its quality and therefore fetches good income to the farmers.He congratulated the scientists for developing disease-resistant varieties of potato suitable for mountains like Kufri Himalini, Kufri Girdhari and Kufri Karan and efforts for developing environmental friendly integrated disease and pest control methods. He said the institute was also making commendable efforts for conserving the physical wealth of species and it is moving forward to get 20 patents. He applauded the CPRI for its research work and developing techniques for which India today ranks second in the list of world's leading potato producing countries after China.
Kalraj Mishra said that the institute has been awarded as the best Institute twice in 1995 and 2012 by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Government of India, which speaks volume of its accomplishments which all the scientists and employees deserve appreciation.He underlined the need to tackle new challenges in taking Indian potato to new heights, to balance the fluctuations in production, increasing the potato processing by more than 8 percent, taking potato exports beyond 1 percent and reducing the post harvest losses by 16 percent.The Governor advised to identifying special potato growing zones and setting up and promoting import-export areas, exploring the potato market within and outside the country and promoting the use of market intelligence and other information technologies to interconnect them.He expressed concern over the decreasing trend in potato production in the state and asked that scientists to find out a solution through their research. He hoped that the institute would meet these challenges, as well as new challenges in a scientific manner.He said efforts should be made to make potato production a major source of income to farmers where in scientists will have to play a major role through extensive research work which would also enable the nation to surpass China in potato production. He stresses that there is need to build such an environment where farmers can trust their fields and they get encouraged to adopt small business from their produce like chips production which would also boost the 'Start-Up' campaign.Kalraj Mishra gave a clarion call to every section of the society to fight against the menace of drug-addiction collectively to save our younger generation.The Governor released Annual Report 1918-19 of the Institute and honoured the officials excelling in their work in respective fields.MP Suresh Kumar Kashyap urged the scientists to develop high yielding varieties of potato. He also requested the farmers to take advantage of the scientific research work and increase their farm income.Mayor Kusum Sadret said that it is a privilege to have the prestigious institute like CPRI in Shimla town.Vice-Chancellor, UHF, Nauni Dr. Parvinder Kaushal also spoke on the occasion.Director, ICAR, Shimla Dr. S.K. Chakrabarti briefed about the various activities and achievements of the Institute.Dr. N.K.Pandey, Head, Division of Social Science, ICAR, Shimla proposed the vote of thanks.