TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES OF SUSTAINABLE POTATO PRODUCTION IN ALIGARH DISTRICT, INDIA

POTATO

Abstract: The rural population in India is largely engaged in vegetable cultivation apart from traditional agricultural practices. Vegetable cultivation has gained impetus since the last decades due to increasing health awareness, population growth, urbanization, and better marketing facilities. Earlier, small landholders used to grow vegetables but now with increasing demand and higher remunerations large landholders have also shifted towards vegetable cultivation. Potato is widely used due to its low cost, easy handling, and transportation, and it’s higher shelf life as compared to other vegetables. The present paper analyzes the dynamics of potato cultivation in Aligarh district, which is one of the leading producing areas of India. This paper tends to find out the temporal change in the area under potato cultivation and a substantial increase in total production. There are promising benefits to the potato farmers and good prospects in the future due to increasing cold storage and agro-processing facilities. The present study also discusses the role of various institutional, socio-economic, marketing, and policy-oriented factors constraining potato cultivation in the study area.

Keywords: Potato Cultivation, Veg. Farming, Agricultural Marketing, Farmers’ Sustainability

Introduction India with diverse soil and climate comprising several agro-ecological regions provide ample opportunity to grow a variety of horticultural crops. These crops form a significant part of total agricultural production in the country which covers fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, flowers, and ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, condiments, plantation crops, and mushrooms. The cultivation of these crops is labor-intensive and generates a lot of employment opportunities for the rural population. India, with more than 66 million tonnes of vegetables is the second-largest producer of vegetables in the world next only to Brazil and China (Economic Census 2005). Thus, the cultivation of diversified crops plays a vital role in the prosperity of the nation and is directly linked with the health and happiness of the people (Asif, K. et al., 2016).

Potato is a starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum, native to the Andes in South America. It was introduced in Europe by the Spanish invaders and diffused to several countries. It is grown in more than 125 countries and consumed almost daily by more than a billion people. Hundreds of millions of people in developing countries depend on potatoes for their survival. Potato is also referred to as the ‘food of the poor’. In India also potato is reported to be very important during times of food scarcity (Shakeel, et al., 2012). Once harvested, potatoes can be used for a variety of purposes: as a fresh vegetable for cooking at home, as raw material for processing into food products, food ingredients, starch, and alcohol, as feed for animals, and as seed tubers for growing the next season’s crop (FAO, 2009).

Potato cultivation is expanding strongly in the developing world, where the potato’s ease of cultivation and nutritive content has made it valuable food security and cash crop for millions of farmers. Developing countries are now the world’s biggest producers and importers of potatoes and potato products. In India, the potato was introduced by the Portuguese during the 17th 30 Century AD. It was first cultivated in the mountains of the Western Ghats, Nilgiris, and later on in North India. At present potato is the most important and widely used vegetable in India. As a vegetable, potato is cultivated in almost all states of India. The major potato producing States are Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Assam. Vegetable cultivation under market gardening is an important component of the value-added cropping system of Indian agriculture. Earlier vegetables were cultivated as subsistence crops along with cereals, pulses, and oilseeds and occupied a meager share of total cropped area of the country. It is a caste oriented activity and mainly cultivated at a small scale (Deshingkar P. et al. 2003). The cultivation of vegetables was traditionally confined to certain castes and still persists in larger parts of the country. Hence, this kind of cropping system could not get proper attention from the policymakers as well as by large farmers.

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By:

Nizamuddin Khan1 , Anisur Rehman2 , Mohd. Sadiq Salman3 and Kamal Asif4 1Professor, Department of Geography, A.M.U., Aligarh, India 2Ex-Guest Faculty, Department of Geography, A.M.U., Aligarh, India 3Guest Faculty, Department of Geography, J.M.I., New Delhi, India 4Head, Department of Geography, D.P.S., Aligarh, India Email: kasif2006bustan@gmail.com, mmsadiqsalman@gmail.com

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