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Women farmers cultivate potato with zero tillage, straw mulch
ANN Service

The farmers with the potato varieties cultivated at Bezkuchi. – Photo: Nava Kanta Kalita
 PATACHARKUCHI, Feb 20 - Women farmers of Patacharkuchi have successfully cultivated potato without disturbing the soil through tillage and using straw mulch.

 “Using the zero tillage technique, potato is cultivated without traditional soil preparation immediately after harvest of Sali paddy. The zero tillage technique – a climate resilient technology introduced and standardised through the technical support of the International Potato Centre (CIP) – is gaining popularity among potato farmers,” said Dr Minsura Begum, district horticulture coordinator, Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART).

“Potato seeds are sown in a specific area which has sufficient moisture after harvest of Sali paddy and the potato seeds are covered by paddy straw as mulching material,” said Dr Begum, who was present along with Hirendra Nath Sarma, block technology manager, Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), at Bezkuchi village during harvesting of the potatoes.

The farmers also used Partial Root Drying Method and successfully cultivated the Lady Rosetta variety of potato.

The project was funded by the World Bank. As part of a demonstration, three farmers having around two bighas of land each cultivated potato to popularise the varieties which have high productivity and are easy to cultivate and harvest, said Sarma.

Riju Mani Deka, a woman cultivator from the village and the wife of progressive farmer Sunil Deka, cultivated zero tillage potato of Kufri Surya variety in her paddy field for the first time.

Sunil Deka, who has been cultivating different varieties of cabbage and other vegetables for last couple of years, cultivated Lady Rosetta potato in his two bighas of land, and was surprised with the results. The potatoes are very big in size and weigh around 200-400 gram. During the harvest, weight was measured from random samples.

Another farmer who has benefited from such types of cultivation is Chittaranjan Deka. In the demonstration programme, all aids including pesticides, spray machine, land preparation training and seeds were supplied to the farmers free of cost.

District Agriculture Officer Krishna Kanta Pathak and Nodal Officer Joynal Abedin have been appreciated for their role in extending help in the successful implementation of the projects.

The project will continue till 2025. Demonstrations have also taken place in Barpeta district, under APART, as well as in Bajali block.

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