Chinese potato becomes popular again in Mulavoor region
Muvvattupuzha (Ernakulam): After a long break, Chinese potato farming has become popular in Mulavoor area again. The farmers were cultivating Chinese potato in paddy fields and the Mulavoor special Chinese potato was popular among the merchants in various districts. When the paddy farmers switched to tapioca, Chinese potato was ignored totally.
Now the tuber crop has been brought back to the fields as part of the campaign to utilise all barren lands in Muvvattupuzha initiated by MLA Eldho Abraham. With this, Chinese potato is cultivated on one-acre land in Mulavoor under the leadership of Payipra Krishi Bhavan. Four farmers of the area are growing the crop on trial basis.
Though smaller in size, Chinese potato is rich in vitamins and 20 percent carbohydrate. It is suitable for the climate and geographical features of Kerala. Chinese potato is more commonly cultivated in Thrissur and Palakkad districts. Compared to other crops, the plant requires less care and attention.
The months between July and October are ideal for Chinese potato farming. It can be harvested within 4-5 months. The vines sprouting from the seeds are used for propagation. Sreedhara, Nidhi and Suphala are the indigenous varieties of Chinese potato.
Preparing the sprouts is the first step of cultivation. For small scale farming, it can be grown in grow bags or plastic sacks. Cow dung powder, bone manure and neem cake should be added as base fertilizer while cultivating on ground.
Neem cake is useful to get rid of nematodes that attack Chinese potato plants. The vines should be planted at a distance of 30 centimetres. When the vines begin to dry, it indicates the time of harvest.