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Introduction:

Potato is one of the main commercial crops in India. Although in 1980-81 potato was only 0.4% (.73 million ha) of the total cropped area, it contributed a handsome Rs. 7,870 million to the national economy in that year. In 1989-90, at current prices, its monetary contribution increased to Rs. 19,140 million (Govt. of India statistics 1992a). By 1992-93, area planted in potato had risen to over 1million ha and 0.6% of total cropped area. Potato is cultivated in 23 Indian States. Uttar Pradesh (UP) accounts for over 36% of aggregate output (15.25 million t in 1990-91), followed by West Bengal (29%), and Bihar (10%). The Indo-Genetic region: Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, and Haryana-accounted for 78% of area and 86% of production in 1990-91. The map on the facing page gives an overview of area planted to potato throughout India.

Popular Varieties:

The no. varieties are cultivated in India. Some of which are given as Kufri Jyoti, KCM (A-708), Kufri Badshah, Super Jyoti, Kufri Lauvkar, Kufri Ashoka (376), Kufri Sindhuri (C-140), Kufri Jawahar (222), Kufri Pukhraj(C-166) , Kufri Sutlej (5857), Kufri Bahar (3797) , Super Pukhraj, Kufri Pushkar, Atlantic ( ATL ), Kufri Chipsona –I,  Kufri Chipsona –II,  Kufri Chipsona –III, Kufri Anand, Diamant, Lady Rossetta ( LR ), Diamond, Kufri Frysona, Kufri Surya, Kufri khyati, Santana etc.

Maturity Indices:

A high-quality fresh-market potato tuber is turgid, well shaped, uniform, and brightly colored (especially reds, whites, and yellows), as well as free from adhering soil, mechanical damage, greening, sprouts, diseases, and physiological defects. The ability of potato tuber skin to resist abrasion (skinning) during harvest is a common index for maturity. Sugar content is a maturity index for processing potatoes, with both immaturity and over maturity resulting in higher sugar levels. Vine senescence is used as a pre harvest maturity index, but the correlation between vine senescence and tuber skin-set varies among cultivars.

Harvesting:

  • Dig potatoes on a dry day. Dig up gently, being careful not to puncture the tubers. The soil should not be compact, so digging should be easy.
  • New potatoes will be ready for harvest after 10 weeks, usually in early July.
  • You should harvest all of your potatoes once the vines die (usually by late August), or the potatoes may rot.
  • Make sure you brush off any soil clinging to the potatoes, and then store them in a cool, dry, dark place. The ideal temperature for storage is 35 to 40°F.

Storage & Packaging:

Temperature and tuber damage are the two most important factors in successful potato storage. Very careful handling is the key to preventing damage. Harvesting is best done when the soil is slightly moist to prevent abrasion and the tubers lifted carefully to avoid damage. Ideally they should be left to dry for few hours in the field, collected in field containers and placed in a cool, shady place. Potatoes for food (ware potatoes) must not be exposed to light for more than a few hours otherwise they turn green, develop an unpleasant taste and may become toxic.

It is important to make the distinction between ware potato storage and seed potato storage. The objective of ware potato storage main is to obtain the maximum quantity of tubers, of acceptable quality to the consumers, at a rate to meet consumer demand. This requires the lowest possible quantitative and qualitative losses, with no or little sprouting, kept in the dark to prevent greening and firm tubers, all at an economical cost. In seed potatoes storage the objective is to have optimum development of sprouts prior to planting. In both cases the farmer requires the maximum return from his investment in time, materials, equipment and buildings.

Temperature influences the rate of respiration of the tubers, sprout growth and the development of microorganisms causing rotting. In simple way the relationship between storage temperature and biological activity, For example, at a storage temperature of 10°C, the rates of sprouting, rotting and respiration are modest, at 20°C these activities are almost at a maximum.

Ware potatoes can be stored up to six months in tropical highlands without significant losses provided that:-

  • the variety of potato is one with a long dormancy or the tubers are treated with a sprout inhibitor if storage duration is required to continue beyond the period of dormancy.
  • the potatoes are free from diseases, damage or insect infestation.
  • storage temperatures are kept to levels that do not induce high rates of respiration.
  • the relative humidity within the store is kept at sufficiently high levels to reduce water loss from the tubers.
  • the potatoes are not wet as a result of rain or condensation.


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