The ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) in association with the State Agriculture Department, is popularising climate-resilient, improved varieties of tuber crops developed by it among tribal communities in the State.
Organised under the auspices of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to ensure food and livelihood security for tribal populations and marginal farmers, the programme has been rolled out in Thiruvananthapuram district. In due course, it will be extended to other, selected districts, CTCRI officials said.
The three-year programme will see the propagation of cassava (tapioca), sweet potato and yam varieties, Dr. K. Sunilkumar, principal scientist and coordinator of the project at CTCRI, said.
In Thiruvananthapuram district, it is being implemented in Peringamala, Nanniyode, Kuttichal, Amboori, Vithura and Tholicode panchayats.
Cassava and sweet potato planting materials were distributed to farmers from tribal populations in Peringammala and Nanniyode panchayats the other day at a meeting chaired by Dr. C. A. Jayaprakas, Head, 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 the Cassava mosaic virus.
Of the four sweet potato varieties CTCRI supplied, Sree Kanaka and Gouri are orange flesh types which are rich in carotene content. Bhu Krishna, which has a purple colour, is rich in anthocyanin content.
We plan to extend the project to Idukki and Kottayam districts. Cultivation expenses and cost of planting material will be borne under the project for up to 50 cents per farmer, Dr. Sunilkumar said.