Thursday, 6 February 2020

Potato Storage Problem in India and their Solution

In terms of potato production, India is second place in the world after China and our farmers produce about 400 lakh metric tons of potatoes every year with their tireless hard work. Potato production in our country has been increasing day by day since independence. Major credit for this also goes to the Central Potato Research Institute which has so far developed fifty potato varieties according to different climatic zones. A growing problem has also arisen due to this growing potato production and that is the storage of potatoes. We know that potato contains about 80 percent water and maintaining such a crop is not less of a challenge. For this, many such technologies have been developed by the institute to address the problems of potato storage. In most parts of the country (85 percent of the plains) potato is excavated in the months of February-March, which is followed by the summer season. In such a situation, there is a possibility of excessive loss of potatoes, so potatoes are usually kept in cold stores. We can see and understand the problem of storage and its diagnosis according to different uses:

Storage of potatoes for seeds:
It is very important to save potato seeds from one crop to another, which is about 7-8 months time interval. It is considered most convenient to store seeds in cold storage.
These cold storages operate at 2–4 ° C and 80 percent relative humidity. The advantage of this is that the germination in cold-stored potatoes is almost negligible and the loss of weight in them is also minimal. Therefore, stored potatoes look solid and when they are used for seeds, their physical condition is also favorable. In our country, about 70-80 percent of the total yield of potatoes can be stored in cold stores, but these farmers have to spend extra, which is difficult in many circumstances. Cold storage is not required in hilly areas for the storage of seedable potatoes as winter usually starts after digging in these areas and the potatoes can be protected in diffused light. In winter, the sprouting of potatoes does not increase and germination starts to grow early in the summer and then these potatoes are sown. In this way, seedable potatoes can be stored efficiently by these two methods.

 Potato storage in cold store
 Potato storage in diffused light

Food and Processing Potatoes:

Although in most areas, edible and processed potatoes are stored in cold storages at 2–4 ° C, just like seed potatoes, but a major problem has developed. Keeping cold storages at such a low temperature causes excessive accumulation of non-corrosive sugars in the potatoes, which make the potatoes taste sweet and not liked by most consumers. Similarly, if there is a high concentration of sugars in processed potatoes, the products produced from them become brown or black in color which is not liked by the consumers. To tackle this problem, the institute has developed two types of technologies, which are as follows:

(A) Native methods:

Our country is an agricultural country and farmers here have been storing potatoes for a long time by indigenous methods, but there has been a problem that the loss in potatoes increases by 10-40 percent and the benefit to the farmers It becomes almost negligible. Therefore, some changes were made in these indigenous methods by the scientists of the institute so that it could bring the loss of potatoes to 10 percent and below. These improvements include shedding, keeping the potatoes covered in piles and pits with straw, with PVC holes in them. Piping, treating them with an anti-germination chemical such as chlorpropham, etc. By adopting these reforms, farmers can store potatoes efficiently for 3-4 months, and when the prices of potatoes are high in the market, they can get more profit by selling them.
Improved storage of potatoes in a heap.

(B) The modern method of cold storage:
As we are aware, due to the excessive accumulation of non-polluting sugars in the potatoes in the cold storages, they are no longer able to be eaten and processed, so the institute developed a new technology in which the potatoes were grown at elevated temperatures (ie 10–12 ° C). Can be stored at It has been found from the tests that at this increased temperature the deposition of the refractory sugars is minimal. But germination starts soon at this temperature, so we need to give the potatoes some anti-sprout chemicals like chlorpropham or CIPC. It has to be treated by About 40 ml in a ton of potatoes. Chlorpropham may be used. Although this technology has been prevalent in our country for only about 10 years, it is expanding rapidly and currently, 450 of the total cold storages (about 6000) are storing potatoes by this technology. When cold storages are stored at 10–12 ° C, they have to be chemically treated twice in 6 months' time which is added by a machine in the form of fog. The legislative quality of these potatoes has also been measured by tests that have been found to be favorable for a few months. Therefore, by this technology, less edible sweet potatoes are also being made available in the market and consumers do not hesitate to pay more for this. For processing too, by storing good varieties for 5-6 months by this method, the processing industry uses these potatoes to make products.

The farmer cultivates potatoes by his tireless efforts. Only after getting the proper benefits from this, the overall development of his and our farmer-oriented country can happen.

Please comment below if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading...

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