Bengaluru-based potato seeds firm Utkal Tubers India plans to ramp up its annual production to 50,000 tonnes of high-yielding, disease-resistant seed potatoes across Gujarat, Assam, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka over the next three years.
In 2019, Utkal produced 4,800 tonnes of high-yielding disease-resistant potato seeds across 450 acres of farmland in India. The company now plans to increase the production by investing in research and development, introducing new high-quality proprietary varieties of seeds and utilising technology advancements like cocopeat and aeroponics technologies for seed multiplication.
Potato yields in India are only half the global average with over a million farmers engaged in potato farming in the country. Utkal’s sustainable farming practices will help improve potato production efficiencies in India and help thousands of potato farmers by 2022.
Abhijeet Kudva, Director, Utkal Tubers said, “This is an important advancement towards improving agricultural yield in India. Utkal’s best farming practices can now be implemented to grow potato seeds in areas where seed production is challenging. Farmers in these areas have to procure good quality seeds from distant markets at high cost as they are not available locally. We are excited to see Utkal’s journey in solving India’s food problems through research driven innovations.”
Utkal has secured exclusive rights from IPM Potato Group (IPM), a leading European potato company, for the import of high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of potatoes which are suitable for harsher climates, such as in India. These new varieties have thrived in the harsh climates of Kenya, Morocco and Egypt.
Highlighting the development, Marcel de Sousa, IPM Director said, “We believe Utkal is well positioned to transform the potato value chain in India. The company has demonstrated its capabilities through robust growth in operations and successful production of seed potatoes in non-traditional regions. The introduction of new potato varieties will add value for the farmer through improved yields and better resistance to drought and disease. Utkal’s streamlined operations and strong management team make them like-minded partners for us in the Indian market.’’
Utkal has invested in research to develop and cultivate high-yield disease-resistant seed potatoes in regions where seed potatoes were not previously cultivated. In collaboration with Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University, Dantiwada (SDAU), the company has grown seed potatoes commercially for the first time in Gujarat. From the success in Gujarat, Utkal is working in Assam to improve accessibility and affordability of potato seeds for local farmers.
Established in 2017, Utkal Tubers is currently engaged in potato research, cultivation and marketing. It is a lab-to-land innovation company set up to solve the food security problem in India through innovations in farming practices directly impacting farmers’ productivity and profitability. Existing investors in Utkal are CapAleph Indian Millennium SME Fund, Zephyr Peacock India Fund and IPM. Further, it is in the process of raising additional capital.