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Potato Crops Program


On – Farm Quality Potato Seed Production by Using Seed Plot Technique
To overcome the non availability of quality seed National Potato Programme, NARC introduced seed plot technique in potato growing areas. The Provincial Research Institutes were also involved in this activity.


Positive Selection

This technique is applicable when the seed stock is of poor quality. The best/healthy plants from the field are selected for quality seed production. The remaining tubers are sold as ware potato crop. Select healthy plants at the time of flowering or 50 days crop and tag/mark them accordingly. The tagged plants are harvested separately from the main crop to avoid tuber mixing. Store the selected potato tubers separately and plant the selected tubers in isolation next year for quality seed production.


                                                                                                                                            Staking of Healthy plants


Negative Selection (Rogueing)

This technique is applicable when farmers have healthy seed plot and having diseased plants less than 5%. In this technique diseased and off-type plants are rouged out along with tubers.

First rouging should be done at 45 days, while the second roguing may be carried out at 60-75 days after planting. Conducting the above mentioned procedure, the remaining crop produce will be considered as quality potato seed.


                                                                                                                                            Diseased plants removal
Zinc Application as Micro-Nutrient in Potato Crop

Over the years potato has become an important crop for both farmers and consumers in Pakistan. Low and wide variations in yield, suggest that there is a scope for improvement, if the limiting factors are identified. Potato growers usually apply only NPK and no other Micro-nutrients are used for crop improvement. Zinc deficiency may be the limiting factor in present day agriculture. In 1986 a survey on Bacterial and fungal diseases of potato in the plains of the Pakistan was conducted by the Pak-Swiss Potato Development Project.

In this survey it was reported that zinc deficiency symptoms are common in potato growing areas of Punjab. After this survey report, Pak-Swiss Potato Development Project, planned to conduct on-station and on-farm research to observe the effect of zinc application. Trails were also conducted to assess the impact of zinc deficiency in 1989-91 with collaboration of provincial potato research institutes and it was reported that application of zinc at the rate of 12.5 kg/ha at planting time increased the yield by 21%. In Punjab, at farmers’ field application of zinc sulphate @ 12.5 kg/ha increased average yield by 17%. The recommended dose of zinc sulphate (35%) is 12.5 kg/ha is applied along with the other fertilizers prior to planting to ensure, uniform field distribution of zinc.

Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans) Control

Late blight is the most serious fungal disease of potato crop. There have been efforts for nearly a century to improve the efficiency of potato late blight suppression methods. These methods emphasize the use of protective and curative fungicides and selection of new varieties having resistance against late blight. Its damage depends on its spread and crop stage. If it appears in early season the crop losses are very high, some time above 70% decrease in yield. Late blight is a threat to potato production in hills as well as in plains. Its chemical control and biological control was developed by potato Programme, HRI, NARC.


                                                                                                                                            Late blight damaged crop

Chemical control:

This disease appears when temperature is between 10-25 0C, accompanied by heavy dew or rain or humidity above 80%. Therefore farmers are advised to start spray of fungicide @ 2 grams per liter when rainy season started or cloudy weather with high humidity.


Resistant Variety Sarpo Mira:

Sarpo Mira variety was selected in 2009-10 with the collaboration of private sector and on-farm trials were conducted at NARC, Islamabad, Soon valley, Chiniot, Gujranwala and Sharan (Khyber Pukhtunkhawa).

Sarpo Mira L.B. resistant


Sialkot Kasur, Okara. Sarpo Mira showed field resistance when all other varieties were killed by late blight. It is high yielding (25-30 t/ha), having better dry matter and good storability.

Fertilizer Application through Banding and Placement Methods

For optimum growth and development of potato crop the availability of plant nutrients in proper amount is essential. In Pakistan most of the potato growers are used to apply NPK through broadcasting, as they are not aware of other methods of fertilizer application. Fertilizer application by banding or placing near tuber is rarely used. In farmer practice fertilizer is broadcast “on the flat”, i.e., before the ridging, the fertilizer applied in this way is not readily available to the newly planted crop. In placement method fertilizer can be applied between the tubers planted or at the bottom of seed tubers but a layer of soil should separate seed tubers from fertilizer. Direct contact of fertilizer with seed tubers will cause rottening. Therefore it is important to place the fertilizer where it would be intercepted greatly by the plant roots.


Placement of fertilizer Banding of fertilizer


Scientists proved through experiments that with banding and placement methods of fertilizer application potato yield could be increased up to 15 and 30% over broadcast fertilizer application. By broadcasting, fertilizer is less concentrated in the root zone of the plant. In case of broadcasting of fertilizer, the nutrients cannot be fully utilized by plant root zone where as weed growth stimulated all over the field. Using the banding or placement method will economize the amount of fertilizer to be used. It is further reported that if the soil fertility is low and fixation may occur, the placement method is advantageous.


The results proved that banding and placement methods are more useful than broadcast method of fertilizer application. It is observed that the overall increase in yield with banding method was 25% and with the placement 44%.

Off-Season Vegetable Production in Hilly Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa   

Mostly hilly areas are mono-cropping, having soil borne diseases, facing low yield and habitual to give less importance to cultivation. In 1984 Potato Programme with the help of Swiss fund a development project was started in Kalam Area. At that time potato crop was grown in the area and yield were very poor and also facing sever late blight attach to crop every year and in Utrore valley another sever problem of cyst nematode was found first time.


Keeping in view introduction of vegetable as off season was introduced and encouraging results were found. Potato Programme over come the problem with a success story of offseason vegetable production.


off-seasons vegetables farming


Many vegetables peas, turnip, cabbage, beans and cauliflowers were introduced. Seed and production technology of all vegetable demonstrated on large scale with marketing help. Farmers adopted quickly offseason vegetable due to handsome increase in income. Within 5 years the supply of off season vegetable during summer in Punjab got popularity and marketing channels were developed automatically. Peas, beans, cabbage and turnip production was got success and change the living hood of Kalam and Kaghan farmers.


Potato Programme was successful to demonstrate the production of off-season vegetable in Kalam and Kaghan valley. In Kalam valley turnip, peas, beans and cabbage got popularity. Where as in Kaghan valley peas got tremendous popularity. In both place due to good income the life style was changed and some farmers started proper cultivation of vegetables in the area. Early peas and turnip planting allowed reducing soil borne diseases inoculums in the vally. Cyst nematode infestation was also managed.



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