Locals lose hope in agri dept, SKUAST for revival of Hirpora potato

Locals lose hope in agri dept, SKUAST for revival of Hirpora potato

Shopian: Least pains are being taken by the agriculture department and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Balpora for the revival of the famed indigenous Hirpora potato in south Kashmir.
According to an agriculture official, only a dozen farmers in Hirpora area are growing this local potato which is also called as ‘mutton potato’ (Kattmaaz Alo) because of its pinkish colour. The official said that low yield and susceptibility to infections are the reasons why farmers have abandoned its cultivation.
Despite much demand by the locals of Hirpora, a high-altitude area surrounded by forest and the last habitation on the Kashmir side on the Mughal Road, no steps have been taken either by the agriculture department or the agricultural varsity SKUAST for revival of this potato variety.
Tariq Ahmad, an extension officer with the agriculture department, said that a detailed project report (DPR) by his team was sent to the Director, Agriculture, but it was not approved. “Now we have sent another proposal for utilising a kanal of land in Hirpora for demonstration of the said potato,” he said.
Last year, many people from Hirpora alleged that some non-local red potato seeds were distributed among farmers in the name of the Hirpora pink potato.
Both agriculture officials and locals are also blaming SKUAST for not helping farmers in reviving this potato variety. They say that the scientists at the varsity only mislead locals and officials.
“What KVK scientists did was that they sowed the local potato at Balpora instead of Hirpora. How can the results and the research be precise when they are cultivating it 20 kilometers away from the original location and topography,” an agriculture official said.
He added that this potato is the best in the world and can compete with any variety provided it is revived properly.
As per experts, one reason for the decline of production and quality had been use of fertilisers, and growing the potatoes between other crops like fruit trees.
Parmeet Singh, a scientist concerned with revival of Hirpora potato, told Kashmir Reader that they have successfully identified the Hirpora potato gene by utilising all the resources, even taking help of retired senior officials of agriculture department and SKUAST.
He said that they have isolated the original Hirpora potato gene and next year they will profile it. “Then it will be taken under PPV & FRA to benefit the farmers involved in its cultivation,” Dr Singh said.
He added that this potato is rich in antioxidants and helps reduce sugar. “According to an order of the Director Research, the Division of Vegetables and KVK Shopian have been assigned the task of revival of this potato,” Dr Singh said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.