ICAR’s Central Tuber Research Institute (CTCRI), in association with the National Department of Agriculture, is popularizing the improved and climate-resilient varieties of tubers developed by it among tribal communities in the state.
Organized under the auspices of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to ensure food security and livelihoods for tribal people and marginal farmers, the program has been rolled out in Thiruvananthapuram district. In due course, it will be extended to other selected districts, CTCRI officials said.
The three-year program will see the spread of cassava (tapioca), sweet potato and yam varieties, said Dr K. Sunilkumar, senior scientist and project coordinator at CTCRI.
In the district of Thiruvananthapuram, it is implemented in the panchayats of Peringamala, Nanniyode, Kuttichal, Amboori, Vithura and Tholicode.
The other day, cassava and sweet potato plant material were distributed to farmers in the tribal populations of the Peringammala and Nanniyode panchayats at a meeting chaired by Dr CA Jayaprakas, Chief, Crop Protection Division, CTCRI.
Two varieties of cassava (Sree Raksha and Sree Pavithra) and four varieties of sweet potato (Sree Kanaka, Sree Arun, Bhu Krishna and Gouri) were supplied to the farmers. Sree Raksha, a high yielding variety, is resistant to cassava mosaic virus.
Of the four varieties of sweet potatoes provided by CTCRI, Sree Kanaka and Gouri are orange-fleshed types that are high in carotene. Bhu Krishna, which has a purple color, is rich in anthocyanins.
“We are planning to expand the project to Idukki and Kottayam districts. Growing costs and the cost of planting material will be covered under the project up to 50 cents per farmer, ”said Dr Sunilkumar.