ISLAMABAD, Mar 25 (APP): Pakistan Agriculture Research Council in collaboration with Korean Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) would establish 35 aeroponic greenhouses to produce 4 million tons of first-generation seed potato tubers for large-scale cultivation to produce virus-free potato seed.
Currently, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea are working jointly on seed potato production through aeroponics technology and more than 30% of potato seed requirements could be met from the tissue culture labs at NARC and 2nd crop is ready to harvest at PARC-National Agricultural Research Centre Islamabad.
PARC and KOPIA are collaborating on a project for Aeroponic Potato Seed Production System, with the goal of achieving higher productivity, reducing post-harvest losses, promoting farm-level processing, developing human resources, and creating significant job opportunities.
Potato is one of the major cash crops of the country and during 2022 it was cultivated in an area of 313,000 ha with a total production of 7937,000 tonnes.
Potato seed in Pakistan is mainly imported from Holland, which is not only expensive but also of the fifth generation or above. Pakistan’s annual import of potato seed is around 12,000 to 15,000 tons, which costs around Rs. 2-3 billion.
The local production of seed through this technology will help minimize this import bill.
During the event, Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chairman PARC, expressed gratitude towards the Korean government and KOPIA team for their efforts in establishing Aeroponic technology for potato seed production at NARC Islamabad.
Dr. Ali emphasized the significance of potatoes as a vital crop globally and the need for research initiatives to promote indigenous seed production in Pakistan, thereby reducing heavy imports.
He also mentioned that over 30% of the seed requirement can be met from tissue culture labs already operating at NARC, and private sector involvement in seed production is crucial due to its potential for business growth.
He further highlighted the importance of the agriculture sector for economic growth in Pakistan and the need to preserve fertile land for future food demands. Following the briefing, media personnel were given a tour of the Aeroponic greenhouses at NARC and briefed about the seed production technology.
Dr. Cho Gyoung-Rae, the Project Director of KOPIA, provided an update on the progress of the potato seed production project during the briefing.
According to Dr. Gyoung-Rae, the project aims to establish additional greenhouses at NARC to produce 400,000 nucleus seed potatoes.
These seeds will then be multiplied in 35 greenhouses, resulting in the production of 4,000,000 first-generation seed potato tubers for large-scale cultivation.
The project’s goal is to produce 150,000 tons of high-quality fourth-generation seed potatoes within five years.