Odisha government’s Potato Mission, to be implemented during 2015-16, is estimated to cost Rs 267.05 crore. The state has take the initiative to make the state self-sufficient in tuber production.The scheme will be continued till 2023-24.
The mission aims to increase tuber production in the state to 1.12 million tonne by 2017-18 up from the present 0.2 million tonne. It is believed that the mission has been taken up as the state faces shortage of potatoes and has become dependent on West Bengal to meet the rising demand. The state’s daily requirement of potato is about 2,500-3,000 tonne. It faced a shortage crisis in the monsoon months of July and August after West Bengal imposed some undeclared curbs on potato supplies.
The government has established a task force, which has envisaged an area of 60,000 hectare (ha) by 2017-18, from the existing 15,000 ha, to be raised for the cultivation.
The task force has recommended establishment of 112 new cold storages by March 31, 2018 . It has also recommended providing subsidy of 50 per cent on electricity tariff for six years for the existing cold storages and the ones to come up by March 31, 2018 for storing potatoes and seed potatoes. Each cold storage would have the capacity of 5,000 tonne.
The state’s directorate of horticulture would be the nodal agency for the mission. At the field level, the programme will be implemented through the field staff of the directorate of horticulture. Since there is an acute staff shortage at the directorate of horticulture, the task force has recommended the establishment of project management unit (PMU) with five technical and three supporting staff for a period of three years starting 2015-16 to oversee the overall programme.